I tend to be drawn to the tough kids. The ones who never participate and have total attitude problems. I don't know what it is, except I have this overwhelming ability to see the beauty in everyone. (I'm pretty sure I was the only one in the theater who came out of Star Wars: The Last Jedi feeling sorry for Kylo Ren. But...did literally NO ONE else see the look in his eyes when Rey walked out?!!!)
I can't help but see beauty in people. Even the least of us have beauty - strengths and gifts and vulnerability. I am beautiful. I have energy and love and empathy. My heart is so full it could burst. That is beautiful.
The best of us have ulginess, too. Sometimes I am ugly. Sometimes I make the wrong choice. I do stupid things and make a total mess.
Today is a great example. I was running barely on time for a school. I got in my car and saw the gas gauge: 19 miles to empty. I looked at my GPS: 10 miles away. Arrival time: 7:53 a.m. Awesome. (Ok...I admit a bit of sarcasm.)
So, I tried to relax and stop the tension creeping down my neck. Then, as I was approaching I-29, I thought...hmmmm...I don't remember taking I-29 to this school?... Yep. GPS had wigged out on me, and I had continued to follow her blindly. (I know...we have a codependent relationship, but I happen to be directionally challenged.)
I was left trying to reconfigure the GPS settings - and get the right song going on my playlist, because...I mean...PRIORITIES! - while driving on the highway. I glanced at my updated estimates: 5.2 miles to empty; 5 miles to school; 5 minutes late. Lovely! (And a few other choice words I'd rather my kids not know.)
When I finally arrived, I was so flustered I couldn't find the classroom. I ended up walking in circles with some guy who claimed to be "helping" me. I can't put my relief into words when we finally stumbled into my classroom teacher. I apologized, threw my stuff down, and dove right into our lesson for the day: Communication - Giving and Receiving Directions (Oh the blasted irony!).
I had these big plans to get about a million things done over my lunch break, but by the time it came, I was so frazzled I just rolled down my car windows, let the sun hit my skin and laughed when "Running to Stand Still" came on my play list. I quit running. I looked at the beauty in the ordinary around me. I just stood still.
I was a lot calmer when I walked back into the school, and I asked for directions to my next classroom. And I waited. I listened. I asked questions. I restated the directions. I knew exactly where I was going.
I walked into the classroom, and "that kid" was there. Of course he was new, and we didn't have a connection. He thought I was just another teacher, and he wasn't going to do ANYTHING I said. I let it slide. I don't always force things. I just kept up my positive attitude, enthusiasm, smile, and eye contact. But...there came a time, when I just HAD to call him out.
"How is yours coming?"
"Hmmm..." I said, with a bit of ornery sarcasm, " 'Cause I'm thinking you should double check with everyone else, since yours is looking A LOT different to me." Big, innocent, happy shrug.
Without looking at me, the kid said, all sarcasm and negative connotation, "Man! Why you gotta be so extra?!"
The kid, caught a little off guard, shook his head and laughed, "Aw...you just like your job."
"You got that right. I love my job!" I smiled at him.
And we were friends. And he ended up being the first one to participate and present.
I was reminded of the benefit of pressing through those tough moments in my life...of taking a deep breath and slowing down and taking time to appreciate the beauty around me...of opening my heart and choosing to be positive, responsible and forgiving (to myself and to others). Because, deep down, I know there's a kid in there who needs these things...somewhere under that tough surface is a kid who just wants to be loved. And I choose every day to be the adult who does. Actually, every day I get to be the adult who does. #blessed
Your little homie