April 24, 2013

Lessons from a Third Grader

Sandy blond hair askew, he stood there just to the left of the classroom door. Stationed on the end of the second of three rows, he fixated on the back classroom wall at some obscure spot. It seemed as though he was oblivious to the babbling of voices creating a singsong echo around him.

He waited.

As part of the third grade historical wax museum he stood wearing his "press my button to hear my story" button. Each time your button was pushed you were to recite your story.

I stood in front him wishing I hadn't stopped. The blue of his eyes glistened behind the pools of tears they held as he averted my gaze. His nose ran adding more tear streams to his cheeks.

I looked at the teacher and asked, "Does he want me to push his button?" 

"We are encouraging him to participate," she said. 

Hesitantly, I reached out and gently touched his left shoulder where his button was.

Immediately, more tears streamed down his face. He took a deep, deep breath, started shaking, and immediately launched into his story. His gaze never left the back classroom wall. His voice remained a constant tone, even as more and more tears fell from his eyes.

I held back my own tears and smiled.

I have no idea what he said. I was too overcome with emotion to hear anything.

When he finished I bent down and looked at his beautiful face, trying to find him in his blue eyes. I grasped my hands behind my back so I did not wipe his tears away, smiled and said, "wonderful job." He remained wherever he had gone.

I watched others come up to this same boy, press his button, and wait. Through his tears and fear he shared his story. Every single time.

What made this more extraordinary is that this beautiful boy is autistic.

This was not his comfort zone and yet he stood there and participated. He couldn't help but show his fear, but no one minded. I imagine when they day was over he was elated and I hope he was so very proud of himself.

And I pray that those of us who are hindered by our fears, allow ourselves to stand in the midst of uncomfortable and find the courage to participate. When we muster up the strength to take the first step forward. When I will do this tomorrow, becomes today. When this can't work develops into well maybe. 

It is a beautiful thing to witness, an even more beautiful thing to be part of.

For there is a scared holiness touched when we take our "I can't do this..." and try. 

April 18, 2013

What would you do?

There was once a TV show called This is Your Life. Each week, an unsuspecting celebrity would be lured by some ruse to a location near the studio. He would then be surprised with the news that he was to be the featured guest. Next he was escorted into the studio, and one by one people significant in the guest's life would be brought out to offer anecdotes. At the end of the show family members and friends would gather about the guest who would then be presented with some gifts.

Viewers got to glimpse amazing lives of others. 

Now through social media we are able to do this on a daily basis. Sadly, though, almost every day I read how one of my friends is stuck. Stuck with fear in a life they are not living.

The settle for less than spectacular held back by their own narrow opinion of their capabilities.

I admit it is all too easy to limit ourselves to our narrowed perception of who we are and what we are capable of. It is fun to dream about what if, but scary to think about what if became reality.

Unless forced to changed by someone else's decision we tend to stay put. When someone kicks us out of our own life we tend to fight and scream.

"Just imagine me a year ago..." she said to me. "Had things not forced me to leave, I would never be doing what I have always wanted to. What a blessing in disguise!"

She worked for me a few years ago and when I left, she left. With her sudden free time she ran for a public office and won. Now, she is doing what she had always wanted to do.

Another friend got the courage to step away from her abusive marriage and just opened her own shop. Another lifelong dream now reality.

To many of us get caught in the day-to-day dread. We get up tired, not wanting to go to work, we go through all the motions and another day passes. We want a different day. Not because we feel it is greener on the other side, but because we are not living out our passions.

Desires of who we are burn within each of us. We are equipped and created to become..,, we often are mistaken about how we think these desires will be lived out.

"If you had permission to do what you really wanted to do, what would you do? Don't ask how, that will cut your desires off at the knees. How is never the right question, how is a faithless question. It means unless I can see my way clearly, I won't believe it; won't venture forth."

I often think of my life as a canvas and each day a new part is added to my final masterpiece. There are lots of nasty old dark blotches, but vibrant sprays of color fill most of my canvas. Small circles of bright color explode and pop as I live out my passions.

And there will come a day when I will see my masterpiece and be told, "Sarah, this is your life."

I cry today thinking of the just how beautiful that masterpiece will be.
No regrets, facing my own created fears, bumps and bruises along the way-but never kept down. 

If you gave yourself permission to do what you really wanted to do, what would you do?

April 11, 2013

The Victoria Secret Model

Five years ago I noticed a Victoria Secret model that I swore was my long lost friend. I was convinced that the model just wore really big heels as my friend was shorter. And perhaps she had a boob job, but it was the face---the smile, that made me think it was Aaron. I googled the model and sadly it was not my friend.

Somewhere in college I lost track of this high school friend. I tried many times to find her through the Internet and eventually social media. A few years ago we connected again via Facebook.

We caught up on each others lives as if no time had passed. She has held my hand through dark days and I have held hers, although we have not seen each other for 15 years, at least.

"Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never, ever the same."

My heart holds a collection of friends whom I try to keep up with through Facebook. It is a joy to see glimpses of their lives today. To share in their celebrations. To laugh at us a parents. To remember our past. To mourn our sorrows. To delight in our simple joys.

I marvel at the ones who stuck to their plans and are in the profession they declared while in high school. I admire the ones who have surprised us all by successfully conquering the road less traveled. 

Of all of lives gifts, I think friendship is one of the greatest. So, today I say an extra special blessing for all of my friends. Thank you for making the story of my life.