Thresholds; Invisibility Cloak; and A Precious Dove
Stepping over the classroom threshold, my body jolts to a halt. Like a hummingbird not seeing the sliding glass door, I am thrown up against an invisible barrier. Oddly, not one ten-year-old head turns to acknowledge my entrance. Each young participant's eyes are locked on a particular student. There are words being released into the air, but they do not reach my ears. She is calling on individuals, but I am momentarily deaf.
Like a superhero, I silently draw my "invisibility cloak" around me and inch my way closer until I perch on a student desk. My brain is telling me that I should quietly withdraw, but my heart is compelled by what I am witnessing. There is an immense holiness to what is taking place in front of me.
Today is this "Precious Dove's" last day with her classmates. Like the muted sound of a train rumbling in the distance, becoming clearer as it gets nearer;the spoken words become like well placed arrows to my ears. Looking her in the face and affirming her place in this world, the students continue: "I like the way you always hug me when I am sad." "Thank you for reminding me to get my lunch out of my backpack each day." "You encourage me by how you persevere when things are difficult for you or you don't understand." "You bring joy to our class." Each student taking their turn putting words to their snippets of noticings about how she has touched their lives.
She has been with this group of students since Kindergarten. They have learned to understand her unique ways. They have tucked her under their wings and protected her. They have grown to appreciate her distinct abilities; happy quirky personality; and deeply woven gentleness. They have walked with her through the loss of a sibling. She has belonged to them and now it is time to bid her farewell. Each one of them gently and sincerely speaks of her gifts and what she has meant to them. Whether they realize this or not, their words of love and affirmation are weaving themselves into a protective blanket that she will carry with her for life. Do these children know the power of what they are doing?
Unexpectedly, warm liquid cascades down my cheek. I am wrecked. Quietly, I slip back over the threshold and escape to my office. This scene replays in my mind like a favorite song stuck on repeat. Their words soar around and deeply resonate in the chambers of my heart. This experience has enough octane to change me; to change the way I live each day.
Words hold more power than we often consciously think about. In the Old Testament, King Solomon wrote about the power of words in Proverbs. He proclaimed, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue. Words have the potential to produce positive or negative consequences (Prov. 18:20,21). Words can bring life to a person through encouragement or death through gossip. They can be that soft blanket of protection or a poison tipped arrow. Only you have the power to choose. These students chose well and they gave this "Precious Dove" a gift that will be with her for the rest of her life.
I have to ponder how different our friendships; families; workplaces; and communities would be if we just paused everyday and used our words to point out one thing we appreciated in those around us. A sincere compliment can change the trajectory of another person's day. I want to be one who speaks life. Will you join me?
Until We Chat Again,
The Plank-Eyed Girl