A few months ago I remember feeling the push-pull of the spirit as my husband and I contemplated working with the teens in our church community. I could see the mental checklist clearly as I checked off cons such as 1) we work with teenagers every day 2) I don’t want to be “Mrs. Cornwell” to these teens, it might make them feel less-than-comfortable 3) we’re already so busy and so on. On the other hand, there were the pros of 1) I love seeing what a group of teens can accomplish 2) there’s a need 3) they have so much to teach, to give, to share, to learn and so on.
I thought back to last summer when we left the country the day after school let out for the summer, and spent a week working with the Kuna Indians in Panama City. I thought about the moment of panic when I heard I’d be teaching a voluntary English class in the evenings for the teens and young adults. I felt so inadequate, so completely unprepared, so tired from working with students every day, not wanting to be Mrs. Cornwell, or so busy.
As they say, hindsight is always 20/20, and looking back I see those worries were unfounded. I know this now because upon our return home, those evenings playing hangman or charades, and watching the eager faces of these students writing down the phrases to use in their English practice later – those moments were perhaps the most rewarding.
Last night, as we wrapped up our lesson a bit early, the teens had a few moments on their hands. They hung out. A few flirted. Some shared their story with friends. Still others crawled a teeny bit further out of their shell. Again, I was surprised. Not by some grand sweeping action or declaration of faith (though that too would be cause for celebration). I was amazed by the talent of one young lady who repeatedly solved a Rubic’s Cube within minutes. I’ve known this girl for nearly 5 years and never once knew of this ability. What’s more, watching the way she simultaneously loved and hated the attention, I was reminded of the push-pull I felt. And, like the infinite number of ways there are to mix up a multi-colored square, there’s also a moment when you know you have it right.
Last night, was that moment.
This post was written as part of a monthly challenge sponsored by Two Writing Teachers, to encourage writing and community. The goal is to write a Slice of Life entry each day throughout the month of March.