In the airport I sat next to a very tall young man with huge feet. We chatted for a while about being the tallest kids in middle school and exchanged stories about riding on propeller planes- his fear was palpable . All of a sudden someone approached my conversation partner, recognized him by name and began to talk about his football career- asking me to take a picture of them together.
I still don’t know the name of the famous guy with whom I chatted, but the experience will always remind me that no matter who we are or what we do, we all share the human experience. Being an elite athlete doesn’t keep you from ordinary fear or middle school.
Recently, I had the privilege of being at Glide Memorial United Methodist Church in San Fransisco. Thirty seconds into the celebration, I was on my feet, singing, smiling and crying simultaneously. I was lead by a choir composed of a large variety of socio-economic, race, gender identity, age, and physical abilities. From the music, to the visuals, announcements and preaching, the message was clear: EVERYONE was loved and valued.
How can we create a world where this experience is the rule instead of the exception?
Last week, we decided to make the most of the eternal winter by going ice skating. Our four-year-old had never been on the ice so I quickly grabbed a support frame for her to push around. I had every expectation that she would hold on to that thing with a death grip for the entire outing. Two minutes later she was using the bar to perform swinging acrobatic tricks. After ten minutes had gone by, she ditched the frame and successfully attempted to skate on her own, throwing in a few wobbly twists and turns.
As parents and practitioners, we set up frameworks of support for those in our care. With these supports comes the responsibility to watch carefully. Some folks need to hold on to those bars for a long time, others just need the support to get started. Our job is to let go of our agenda and respond with compassion.
The more students I teach, kids we have and the more crazy things they do, the more my definition of normal seems to expand. How do we all expand our definition of ‘normal’ regardless of our kid-count?
I think it was Sunday or Monday night when I began to soak beans for a nice curry stew. I realized if I did not take the time to make that dish tonight, the beans would be wasted. Sometimes we put aside our gifts, dreams and passions for “later”. While some soaking can be helpful, we can’t let our gifts go to waste.
What do you have soaking?
About a year ago, I realized my commute home was getting harder due to the lack of air in my bicycle tires. Now, after several months of slow rides that I blamed on cold weather and lots of gear, I can to the same solution: air in tires = faster commute.
As humans, we tend to cycle through the same patterns until we learn the intended lesson. Hopefully, I’ll be quicker to pull out the bike pump the next time around.
On my bike ride home, I pass a nondescript hose that hosts a steady stream of water into a ditch. The arctic temperatures have transformed this otherwise humble flow into a majestic ice place complete with blue ice waves leading up to an icicle fortress and crowned with a magnificent ice arch formed from an otherwise insignificant bend over weed. No photograph can capture its beauty.
Why does this matter? It reminds me; that which is seemingly insignificant can transform from the ordinary to the extraordinary when given the right set of circumstances.
How do we create those transformative circumstances for one another?