I have been a little quiet in the blogging world the past six weeks. I could say that my decline in writing is due to the kids starting soccer and volleyball or the busy season of back to school transitions. But if I’m totally honest, I have to admit ever since I recovered from Covid in the middle of July, it was like my mind was trapped in a midst. My thoughts were so jumbled inside my brain.
My husband, sisters, and mom patiently and frequently helped me sort my thoughts and make sense of what I was trying to communicate. At one point when we were excitedly looking over the kids’ class lists to see if I recognized any of the students’ families, it was like we were playing a guessing game. I would tell them the connections I was trying to make with my childhood friends, and they would help me figure out what I actually meant.
Talk about frustrating. I have always been a girl of many words. When I wrote my last blogpost a month ago, it felt like I could barely string a few sentences together let alone another couple of paragraphs. As someone whose soul feels lighter every time I write, I worried I wouldn’t be able to access the joy of writing for the foreseeable future.
Then with what felt as slow as a snail’s pace, my thoughts started coming back together. The mental fog started melting away like the fog on a late summer morning. As I talked with my writing coach, Mindy, about my upcoming goals as a writer, her guiding questions and paraphrases helped me see the value of having another person to guide you as you piece your thoughts together. She helped me think beyond “here and now” and helped me explore what the Holy Spirit was leading me to write in this season of life, as well as, incorporating writing rhythms that would be restorative to my soul.
After Mindy coached me, I realized what I had experienced was slow information processing.
This is the educational term for the invisible process of what happens in our brains when we:
- take in new information
- organize this information with our own thoughts
- express our response with words
I realized daily life requires our brains to complete a ton of mental processing at warp speed. There is a sizable amount of research about the benefits of providing wait time in the classroom. Giving ourselves and others 5-7 seconds to pause before responding to a question allows our brains to weed through possible responses and come up with our most highly crafted answer. In the past, I might have mistaken this pause to be a lack of interest or engagement from my students. Now I realize firsthand that our best responses come when our brains have been given the gift of time it needs to sort possible words before we speak them.
Through experiencing the Covid side effect of “brain fog”, I now know how frustrating, confusing, and exhausting it can be when you feel like your brain is failing you. My teacher’s heart has always beat fiercely for those who take a little longer than others to master new concepts. Though now I have moved from merely having sympathy to developing a deep sense of compassion for others when they need a little more time to pull their thoughts together.
Although I couldn’t be more grateful to be moving out of this dreary, brain foggy season, I am also so thankful to have developed a more authentic compassion for the students I am blessed to work with during this school year. Believing fully that everything happens for a reason, I am looking expectantly for the ways I can give the gift of wait time to others, so that they can form their own beautiful, unique thoughts. Whether a child is struggling academically, socially, emotionally, physically, or spiritually, I have witnessed firsthand when we give others a little more time and the right scaffolding, all children (and adults!) can grow and become a little stronger than they were the day before.
Friend, I’m not sure what is weighing heavy on your mind or what feels foggy for you in this season, but I do know our Heavenly Father knows. He is full of compassion for us when we have trouble sorting our thoughts, sharing our ideas, and keeping everything straight. So today, I pray over both of us 2 Corinthians 1:3-4:
We praise You for You are our compassionate and comforting Heavenly Father. You comfort us in all of our troubles, so that one day we can be a comfort to others facing similar challenges. Nothing happens in our lives that You are unable to redeem and restore. I pray for our dear reader today that you will bring others in her path who can extend the compassionate comfort that only someone who has walked a similar path could provide.
In Jesus’ Name,