Friday, June 17, 2016

On a Mission - Week 40 - what comes next for willing hands to do?

my morning meditation
Since the first of April I've been musing each week over a different question asked in General Conference.

The last week of May the question was "Is there someone in your family who needs your love and kindness?" (from Neill Marriott's "What Shall We Do?")

I didn't want to write that card because I didn't want to know the answer.

I knew my mother-in-law needed me to come sit down for a long visit which I put off and put off until Friday.

The boys needed me to make home, make peace & order, make dinner  --which I only tossed beanbags of effort towards -- instant salad bowls one night, fish & chips from the stand behind the grocery another night.

I never wrote the question up on a card because I didn't want to do anything more for family members.  Because whatever I did do, it always feels like not enough, not right, not what they wanted.  It feels like trying to climb a hill I can never get to the top of.


When I finally asked the question, seriously, thoughtfully, "Is there someone in your family who needs your love and kindness?"

The answer that arose in me was  Me.  

Which  I wanted immediately to squash down because it sounded -- it is so obviously selfish.  But the more that answer persisted, the more I realized that if I could situate myself once more in the fields of joy, then I could more easily provide love and kindness to others.

It has helped keeping these questions rotating through my mind as I go through my day.  Earlier this spring, the question "What time and resources do I have?" (from Cheryl Esplin's "He Asks Us to Be His Hands") reminded me to set healthy boundaries, but within those boundaries to give wholeheartedly.

Now this week's "What comes next for willing hands to do?"  (from Linda K. Burton's "I Was A Stranger") reassures me that the joy I've felt in this job doesn't have to end.  If I'm willing to be engaged in work beyond myself -- worthwhile work in the service of others  -- I will discover that work is everywhere.

This week's question has helped me lift my view to the future, so that this last week of work hasn't been too sad, this last week of the school year, but instead incredibly satisfying, full of so many highlights :

  • One of the undocumented students I'd worked with for hours, standing at her shoulder as she sweated over the alternative to FAFSA filled out with all her family's records of taxes -- I hadn't realized we have taxpayers who don't have the privileges of citizenship! -- so she can attend community college came and she'd hunted me down last spring at graduation because she and her family wanted to take pictures with me -- and then her coming in this week to go through the online orientation before her college classes start.  
  • Giving the good news to next year's Chance to Become scholarship recipients -- the light dawning in their faces as they realized what this would mean, how their plans for the future could be wider than they had before imagined. These five bright, hard-working students whose lives have run through hard places.
  • Talking with one of this year's scholarship recipients, advising him about college options -- comforting him when he began to feel overwhelmed, assuring him of the people behind him who believe in him.
  • One of this year's juniors coming in to tell me he'd already applied for one of the scholarships I'd talked up in the junior class assembly.
  • Another junior coming to tell me he'd emailed the alumnus who works now as a sound engineer that I'd recommended he contact: "he was really happy to talk to me and said to come and we'd set up a job shadow."
  • The hand-written note from a sophomore I'd helped to figure out how to get her final presentation on Prezi to work.

I don't have a clue what comes next, but I believe if my hands are willing, the work will fill them and fill me.   Future promises are closer than they appear.

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