September 17, 2013
“Dear God, thank you for making time when there is none,” I prayed this evening, after being asked to bless our dinner. It was the only thing I could think of to say at the time, considering the fact that I almost didn’t make it there.
Today I ran out of time. I arrived to Cross Country practice flustered by my inability to get out of the library when I wanted to, and flustered as well by my impatience with people asking for things as I tried to leave. I’m late! I was muttering to myself, imagining the team twiddling their thumbs as they waited. The fact of the matter, however, is that they are quite a self-sufficient bunch and were diligently stretching when their wayward coach arrived. But the point is that I felt overextended, and distracted. Practice went amazingly well, in spite of me. As I tried to worry about multiple things at once, it suddenly occurred to me that the team was doing an incredible job with their workout, pushing themselves with a single-mindedness that would make any coach thrilled. Realizing this, I tried to push my time-crunched feelings out of my mind, refocusing on the practice and reconciling myself to the fact that I might not make it to my weekly evening appointment. In between time trials I texted my language teacher. “Practice is running late and I haven’t packed for the trip yet. I might not make it tonight. Sorry!”
Later on in the practice, though, I realized that if I skipped a shower and went straight there, I could make it. I called her and was told to come on over. The evening was, as I suspected it might be, exactly what I needed. No, I hadn’t packed. [still have not, in fact, thanks to a quickly-planned flight with a friend who needed a hospital trip]. And no, I had not taken a shower [that one I have now remedied ☺]. But there is nothing like a little one to take one’s mind off of grown-up concerns.
A friend of mind once told me that she sometimes asks her husband, “Why do you love me?” when she is feeling particularly insecure and/or unlovable. I often feel the same way about the children I spend my workdays with. So much of the time I lose my patience, am unfocused, or simply plain unlovable; yet they love me still.
For whatever reason this little one I am tutoring loves me, quite clearly. She was obviously excited that I made it tonight, and we happily laughed our way through some semi-productive lessons. When I excused myself and explained I needed to go pack, she picked up a pile of her stuffed animals, placed them on a pillow as if it were a platter, and told me it was my food. I pretended to gobble it all up, then took it over to my bag and acted as if I were packing them into a suitcase to take with me. She laughed and called me silly. I asked her mother about the word to make sure I was getting it right then practiced my language skills by saying “ Goodbye silly little one.” She shot right back at me, “Goodbye silly big one.” We all laughed then, remember the previous occasion in which we had exchanged goodbye nicknames, me being her “desert” and she my “forest” the last time. I think perhaps our original nicknames were more complimentary ☺
**Photo is one of the shots of those time-making little ones in my recent workdays.