Perhaps it is middle-age—that time where we reflect upon our lives and know we haven’t as much time to do what we want to do—that caused my current bout of dissatisfaction. I realize what I truly want is to affect change, to be a change agent in my own life and the lives of others—and I want to see the changes and know I had a part. I also realize this is partly ambition and ego. Yet, it is also a real ache to feel and know the reason I am here.
In my mind I don’t think I have done enough to express this desire to be a change agent. And maybe it is I also don’t acknowledge the influence I have had on affecting change in myself and others. But, since realizing this about myself I am starting to notice how I am of service, and also how I might of more service to affect change.*
I work at a school. My job is to assist students in the classroom to stay on task, redirect behavior and provide academic support. However, I find there is another kind of support some students are in need of.
Yesterday I knew I would be unable to perform my job in the classroom with a particular student. I knew there would be no work that would get done. Instead she needed to leave the room. She wanted to show me something. She lead me to the front doors, and I had hoped she wouldn’t try and leave. She stopped at the doors and looked out. She wanted to watch the snow fall.
As we both sat and watched, she began talking. I listened and asked some questions. A part of my mind was also rambling about how I should get her back in class and at least look productive. Yet, the wiser part knew this moment, watching the snow fall while she shared what was on her mind, was also productive—in an even greater way perhaps, than learning about weight and gravity in Science class.
Before her next class she took me to another window to look at the snow. I told her she needed to get to class and she did oblige. I sensed she needs more moments looking out a window with someone willing to listen. Today, another student wanted to show me pictures her father drew and a picture of him. She has only met him twice. The envelope with the pictures was from a correctional facility. I told her I would love to look at them as soon as she did her work, which she did and I thanked her for sharing this part of her with me.
Later in class, the student who needed time to look at the snow wrote my full name on a piece of paper in her diary. By each letter she wrote something nice about me beginning with the letter. The words she chose for me brought tears to my eyes— words like Divine, Real, Kind, Ordinary. Phrases such as like a kid (because I understand kids, she said).
If you recall my previous post, I was seeking a connection to someone (or myself or God) who knew me— who saw me for who I am. I never thought it would come in the form of an 11-year old girl. I plan to ask her for a copy so I can remember.
This list and the trust these two young girls have with me— sharing their thoughts and pictures of and from their father lets me see in small and ordinary ways I am making a difference.
Here is a woman I recently read about making a difference in a simple, yet profound way by giving hugs: http://amma.org/
*What I mean by change is having the courage to go against the current norms of our culture and connect with a richer, truer part of ourselves. It is not necessarily change as much as it is turing toward something that is always within us, that is real and lasting. This is the movement I choose to be part of for myself and others.