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Wednesday, October 20, 2021
Saturday, October 2, 2021
Thursday, September 16, 2021
I found myself unexpectedly back in school this week; not as a teacher or a student, but as an EA.
In a whirlwind 10-minute tour and outline of my duties (mostly covering lunch breaks and other duties for actual EAs), I got a bird's eye view of the million moving parts that make an elementary school run.
While I've looked at school as both a student and a teacher, I've never peeped into it from the perspective of an EA. My tour guide showed me a room for body breaks and the walking path for kids who need a few minutes out of their classroom and posters with emotional regulation reminders and in the middle of it all she said "there are so many kids who just need a little extra love."
I kept on walking like an actual normal human but inside I felt like a field full of fireflies, a night sky full of stars.
Because this is our whole beautiful heartbreaking hope-giving point.
(Love God, said Jesus, and love everyone else. Love your neighbour as yourself.)
I have lived for almost 39 years and my life has been filled with what I imagine is the usual mixture of gladness and sorrow and I have been blessed in so many ways and yet I can't think of any good reason for sticking around this place except for love.
They say there's nothing new under the sun: matter may change shape and form but the sum total of matter stays the same. Whatever we do, we do with the stuff we've got. And we get to try our hands at alchemy and turn what we've got into love.
I mean - we can do the opposite too. We can take our person and energy
into the day and spread rage and leave people cringing in our wake. We
can leave filth and darkness and agony and hatred and apathy.
But, we can - and so many people do - take a morning cup of coffee and a few pieces of toast and walk out into the world and expend that energy as kindness. We get to take these bodies we're in and work gentleness into the places that surround us, create warmth and light and cleanliness and beauty. We get to inhale the air and speak words that comfort, words that inspire, sing songs that awaken whole rooms inside.
We get to take what we've got, and give a little extra love.
And there are a whole lot of people that need a little extra love.
Saturday, September 4, 2021
Tuesday, August 31, 2021
It was the end of the afternoon. We'd been to the beach and come home, sweeping into the air conditioning in our damp and sandy clothes, uncomfortable and cranky because it was over.
I dove headfirst into chores, the ones I shouldn't have left from the morning.
Sam, Vava, and Pascal all followed the usual routine: taking off their suits, leaving their towels in the laundry, finding something to do.
But Kachi stormed and scowled by the door.
A friend phoned and I inhaled her conversation like food after a hard day's work.
I filled the tub for Kachi, hoping its warmth would wash away his heaviness. It didn't.
He yelled and I ignored for five minutes, ten, until finally I put my call on hold and asked him what was wrong.
"Will you stay in here with me?" he asked, but it came out fierce and sulky, a command, a challenge.
I could feel my eyeballs rolling.
Sigh. Didn't I just spend the whole afternoon at the beach with these kids?
I deserve a chat on the phone. I do.
But early in the afternoon Kachi had been yelled at, unfairly, by a grown up he didn't know and he'd retreated into the beach chairs
And hadn't played with us
And had just waited, eyebrows low and heart tossing, until we left.
So I said my goodbyes, and, still wearing my bathing suit, stepped into the tub.
Kachi's eyes grew huge, and he gasped in delight. The water rose as I sank down and laid my head against the edge. Kachi laid his head on my arm and opened up, letting the injustice and sorrow tumble out until we both just sat there, silent, together.
Sam needs to share a laugh, eyes meeting, joyful, over a common absurdity or delight.
Vava needs to be seen, she loves being caught doing something happy or kind or helpful.
Pascal needs to be snuggled and smooched.
Kachi? Kachi just wants to be together.
Tuesday, August 10, 2021
A patch of wheat and purple flowers
Waved golden, radiant in the sun
And the late afternoon breeze.
Have you ever seen anything more beautiful?
I asked my daughter
And she gazed at my face and said
Her freckles, golden;
Her eyes as blue as the sea;
Her hair, tossing about her head wild and free.
That slim frame and wiry limbs and paint-stained fingers
Carrying all this love in and out of season
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Saturday, July 10, 2021
Thursday, June 10, 2021
Wednesday, May 19, 2021
Thursday, May 6, 2021
Friday, April 30, 2021
Today is supposed to be my writing day.
Subjects have been interviewed, topics are prepared, and three articles are due ... but I'm sitting at my computer gloomscrolling instead.
I feel stuck.
And not just in my writing. But in everything. Helplessly stuck. You know?
The apartment building across the street had a leak in the basement a few years ago. A cute little backhoe came and dug up the driveway, ruining the curb and a long strip of asphalt on one half of the front of the building.
Repairs were made, the earth was replaced, but the curb and asphalt were never fixed.
The building isn't pretty - brick and square - but the front of it was always reasonably neat and not unpleasant. But for the past two years it has had an ugly 2-foot swath of dirt out front like a scar.
I feel like that with Covid. More than a year of adaptations to a life I was pretty happy with have been necessary, and functional, but ugly. Scarringly ugly.
I want everything to go back to the way it was. I want to have friends over and raise a glass and decimate a cheese board and hug hello and goodbye. I want to hang out with my closetalker friends and not step back an offensive mile.
I want the asphalt and the curb repaired.
Today I noticed that lumpy upturned patch of earth in front of the apartment building is growing daffodils and tulips. Last fall, maybe, someone got an idea in their heart and carefully tucked the seeds and bulbs into the dirt and let them unfold in their own time.
Just now, my friend called. We're miles apart. Her call was like a breath of air. We can't hang out in person but we can still talk and share joy and carry each other's burdens.
Her call planted a little flower in my Covid-broken heart.
I don't know how to plant and I don't know how to repair torn asphalt or rebuild a curb. I don't know what will grow out of all the upheaval and repairs we've had to make.
But I do know that God put us here to make gardens out of wilderness. To set our hands against entropy and craft, create, cultivate. We're made to be makers. To make beauty, to make life, to make wonder and function and comfort and nourishment.
And maybe someday a construction crew will pull in and set the apartment driveway right. It will be lovely.
But until then -
one could do worse than plant flowers.