Gratitude Day 509

Sat., Sept. 12, 2020

Deuteronomy 31:8 – The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

As we approach the six-month mark of living in a COVID-19 influenced society, it’s becoming clear to me that many are growing weary of this pandemic. While we’d love for things to return to “normal,” I’m not sure this is happening any time soon. We’re still navigating the precarious world of balancing health and safety with doing the things that we want to be able to do. It’s a fine line, a fine tightrope that we’re often walking. It’s clear to me that we’re not all in agreement of how this should look and work, which only adds to the defeatism that so many feel.

That’s why it is so important that some folks are creative enough to help us continue to smile, laugh and bring joy and happiness into our lives.

Enter schoolteacher Paul Miller.

Paul is a teacher at Appleton East High School in Appleton, WI. He created a parody on the “Friends” theme to welcome back his students to school this fall. He spent a day writing and recording the video with the help of his wife.

The response? A-MAZ-ING.

I don’t know Paul. I ran across his little video purely by coincidence. To say that his video has created lots of laughs, follow-up media contacts and a great example of how to make lemonade out of lemons.

As per tradition, Paul begins the school year with a song. This year, he took his normal challenge a step further. He rewrote the words to fit into our current COVID-19 situation.

Paul told a local TV station, “Learning is about being uncomfortable and challenging your skills and pushing your ideas, so I try to get a little uncomfortable in front of the students on the first day.”

What is Paul’s main message in his back-to-school video? He’ll be with the kids, no matter what. Whether they are in their pj’s while attending class and not able to see each other in person, he will be with them. For them. Helping them learn.

Don’t be afraid. Don’t be discouraged. I’m with you.

Pretty good words, right? Teach Paul Miller has the right message we all need to hear right now. While I don’t know Paul, I’m confident he’s taking these words to heart and plans to live them out EVERY. SINGLE. SCHOOL. DAY.

Back to our current situation. Yep, it’s easy to feel discouraged right now. Many of us ARE afraid of a whole bunch of things.

But someone else is with you. Us. Will not leave us. Ever.


God. Look at the first at the top of this post. Read it again. Insert your name at the beginning of the verse. Remind yourself again and again and again. God will be with you. Through this pandemic. On the rotten, awful days. On the days that don’t make sense. On the days you just want something to be normal.

Who will be there?


Now, just don’t give up on God. Let God be your ever-present, ever-consistent friend that is there for you.

Because God already is.

Thanks, Paul Miller, for being there for your students. So are a million other teachers right now.

And for everyone out there, God is there for you. Amen.

For God’s presence with us always and always, I am grateful.

Blessings –


Dear God – Too often, we look for someone, somewhere to be present with us. We forget that You are always here with us. We turn every place but to You looking for comfort and peace when Your presence has been there right along. Thank you for always being present. When we are discouraged, may we turn to You. When we are afraid, may we come first to You. Amen.

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