All These Things
On her way to school Zara felt the blood rush to her head and saw the road curl and shake before her. She hadn’t had breakfast, or lunch or dinner, for the past two days, too overtaken by final exam anxiety. The swirl of blood in her brain seemed to take with it those math equations she memorised, breaking them up and making them meaningless. She reached into her bag for a napkin to wipe the angry beads of sweat on her forehead and nose, but instead gripped a cold, smooth, firm banana. Her father slipped it in before she left the house, while he was hugging her, giving her some of his strength to face those monsters called exams. His big hands clasping her shoulders reminded her that no matter what grades she got he always loved her the same. Zara bit into the banana and chewed on its perfectly-textured flesh, exactly the way she loved it, full enough to satisfy her growling stomach. She ate it so slowly, savouring every easy bite, that she reached the dustbin next to the school gates just as she was ready to throw away the peel. As she tossed it in the bin her phone beeped and a message flashed across its screen saying, ‘Do not worry my love. Be confident. You are prepared and a super smart girl. My super smart girl. Just do your best. Love, Dad.’ Zara smiled and hugged her phone to her chest. She could face anything with a father like that and not only because he helped her believe that she could do anything. She was able to move through the test faster because her dad had replaced her old, spastic calculator with a new one, and sharpened all of her ten pencils so she didn’t have to spend time during the test to do so. And when the toughest part of the test came up, integration, she remembered the impossibly simplistic way in which her dad had explained it to her, and how the way he drew the curves of his integration signs made them feel less intimidating, and more like soothing musical notes. After the test, which flew passed, her father was waiting for her under the tree he liked to call the Guardian because its branches reached so far in so many directions that being under it felt like being in a cave. Zara sat down next to him, he handed her a strawberry-kiwi smoothie from her favourite smoothie place and put his arm around her shoulders, and they stayed there until she drank it all and her shoulders were completely relaxed into his hug. It was then she realised that she hadn’t had any time to worry for the entire day because, outside of the time she spent doing her exam, her heart was so full of the joy given to her by her father’s kindness. And that was all that mattered anyway.
‘Your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things’ Matthew 6:32