Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Strength in Meekness on a Three Day Weekend

Yesterday was a school holiday. Whether for Columbus Day, Indigenous People's Day, or my mom's birthday, a three day weekend was on the books. We hosted a play date and the very same kids who were at our home two years ago were over again. I was reminded of the lesson I learned and had written about love. There's tremendous power in simply letting it wash over our people to cover their fatigue, their mood, their shortcomings. Lord knows we all need a covering now and then, and blessed are we who offer it.

I hope you'll enjoy this post from two years ago. It's not about Columbus, or holidays, or birthdays, but it is about the powerful force of love we all have the freedom to share. 

Carry on, friends. You're doing so well.

Click on the word *post to read the story:)

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Love without Words

Emerson has a new friend this year. She's told me about the interests they share and the humor they find in everyday. They pair up when it's time to work as a team and play together at recess. They have found points of connection and communication which transcend words, which is helpful since her new friend speaks virtually no English.

Haemil is from South Korea and this is her first year in an English only school. The combination of translation technology, a wonderful teacher, and Haemil's tremendous intellect are serving her well and she's finding success in the classroom. But social connections require the other children to be  willing to cross the language barrier and create a path to engage. I couldn't be more proud of my little bridge builder who has taken it upon herself to find a way to love this girl well.

Emerson has learned a lot about showing love without words this year, yet she has willingly taken on a personal study of the language so she can communicate more fully with her new friend. She created a folder of common Korean words and phrases and their phonetic pronunciation. She is even learning the characters for each one. She has, out of the purity of her loving heart, done what we dream our friends will do: find a way to understand us.

I went to to the school Book Fair this morning to help Emerson select some books to buy. Haemil smiled shyly toward me as she placed her hand on Emerson's back and pointed to her wish list of books. Instinctively, Emie led her to the sections where each title was displayed. Haemil touched her again and pointed to a few of the specialty items behind the librarian's desk. Emie came to me and told me precisely which items Haemil wanted to purchase. Following the lead of my little love, I told the librarian I'd be helping Haemil today and could she please gather the items Emie mentioned. The librarian gently led Haemil to the items and encouraged her to choose her preferred color in each one. Haemil's face lit up like Christmas morning. She now held in her hands everything she had hoped to get at the fair. Without a little help, it would have been quite a challenge for her to find the items and communicate her wishes within their allotted shopping time.

As we waited for her total to be calculated, Emie picked up a prop hat on a stick which was there for the students' enjoyment. She held it over her head and made a silly face in Haemil's direction. She then held it over Haemil's head, which set her to fits of giggles. She'd done it again, tapped into joy without saying a single word.

I walked the girls back to the classroom and along the way, Em put her hand on Haemil's shoulder and pointed to me and said, "This is my umma," the Korean word for mom. Haemil's smile widened as another bridge was crossed in our introduction.

I drove away from the school with a lump in my throat and my heart swollen with pride for my beautiful girl. Sometimes tween-dom brings unwelcome bravado in which a child I brought into the world asserts her presumed authority and expertise in everything. It can be exhausting to control my response and be careful not to over-correct her when she's simply trying to stretch her wings. But today, I gladly followed her lead as the resident expert in loving others well. She has so much to teach me about leaning in and loving with my life before my words.

“Preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary use words.” St. Francis of Assisi