It came to me when I was chopping green beans tonight, what it all meant, as all shattering revelations do. As I beheaded and befooted the beans, I realized where I went wrong.
I had to get up a little earlier than usual to get the kizzle off to school so that I could meet the new freshmen in our department and venture on our community service. It’s a campus tradition that before classes begin, the first year students gather and do a morning service project together at a local agency. We were told we were headed to Ronald McDonald house (love) and that we would be helping with a mailing.
We were off to a winning start as my children were still pro-hugging in hallways with their mom as I dropped them off at school. Also on the positive list are the new crop of students sent to our department, especially as this crop of students seems gregarious and sort of undaunted about the extroversion inflicted upon them during orientation.
Still, I have to say that I sort of felt, I don’t know, like I was doing this really huge sacrifice today. That I was Giving Up All the Gold that is Kendra’s morning that could be better spent writing syllabi, or better yet, adding crap to her Target Cartwheel app. Instead I had to shepherd some people born in the late ’90s WHO PROBABLY DON’T EVEN KNOW ABOUT DOING THE CARLTON, to a place I’d never been, to do work that I was not all that dazzled about doing, probably while making small talk which it is well documented I am allergic to, all morning long. Sigh.
We got to Ronnie McD and the plans to have us help with the mailing were diverted to having our team of 14 clean the place. It was a lot of the blind leading–oh where is the Swiffer, what’s a Swiffer?–the blind. It went by quickly and then we were helping with the mailing and blah blah blah everybody got that feelgood feeling, I’m sure of it.
Before we left, we got a tour of the facilities and our tourguide was explaining why the CEO of their location has a heart for the Ronnie McD House ministry. Because her baby died from leukemia at age 9, and there was no Ronnie McD house in Chattanooga, so their family had to go to Memphis for her to receive treatment. So she became the first paid employee of the House when it was founded in ‘nooga. Then, as we were about to get our bags and depart, I looked up and noticed the schedule on the wall of where the parents who are staying at the House were that day. They were all at the NICU across the street.
But I still didn’t get it.
I got a call when I returned to campus and I had to quick high-tail it over to my office to talk with a parent about her daughter’s schedule. I was hot and cranky and underfed and irritated that I couldn’t get to the Dollar Store with much time before I had to pick up the kizzle again from school. Gahhhh, I’m such a bondservant of the people today.
It was only when I was chopping the green beans, over and over and over and over, my littles eating yogurt and watching some McDonald’s commercial on the tablet that the light in my McNugget-sized brain flashed on.
Today was about taking care of other people’s children, namely my students, so that some other parents of sick children whose prayers are probably prayed with wringing hands and breathed through desperate sighs, could take care of their children hooked up to wires, bleeping monitors, oxygen. All the while some of the most dedicated teachers the world over were busy taking care of my children.
My faith is so small as I tread water in a pool that is not so deep, where I regard small ripples as great waves. I know others may think me naive to believe in this God who cares about my hang-ups and first world problems. I have experienced an awesome, majestic mercy, though, and am trusting that what I know to believe as true will be enough to help me get out out of my own way. I don’t want to just tread this same water. My goal is to be back on shore….