I believe that at unexpected times, an invitation for something very special comes our way. However, we can fail to see the unveiling if we are not careful. This is especially true for us busy teachers rushing around our classrooms.
Recently, I received an invitation from one of my literacy students. This young woman is especially precious to me. She began coming to my class towards the end of last year barely able to read. A year later, she is reading, smiling, and creating.
Last friday, her and I made a Mother’s Day card intended to go to someone who meant something to her. I knew she was living in a foster home but I still wanted her to think about thanking a person who had given to her in some way.
Although her words saddened me, I kept my composure and replied, “Isn’t there someone who you feel has cared for you?”
“No.” Tears streamed down her cheeks.
I told her “There are mothers by nature and mothers by adoption, but there are also Mothers of the Heart. I will be your Mother of the Heart. I will check on you next year when you are in eight grade. I will stay in touch with you in high school and beyond.”
At those words, she fell against me sobbing. After calming, she asked if I would take the card for Mother’s Day.
The theme of music she chose especially struck me. I instinctively knew another invitation presented as well. It was time to pick up my guitar and play once again.
I asked her to write a note on the tiny invitation she crafted to go into the card pocket. Her eyes welled up with tears as she shook her head up and down.
The next day she brought me this card with her message written:
Last year another invitation came. A student found this message hidden in one of our library books. The unknown writer was desperately trying to find someone to hear him or her.
Some of the darkened words are especially heart-breaking: “I want people to see me.” I vividly remember how reading this cry for help was a turning point in my teaching career. I determined to slow down and listen more…to see my students.
Today more invitations came pouring in, “Mrs. Luna, can we use your computers for our reports? Can you teach me how to sculpt Abraham Lincoln? I need help with a PowerPoint project?” Eager faces pressed in as I opened the classroom door.
Invitations continued throughout the day. There was the conversation with a colleague over her writing ambitions. The chance meeting of my son’s friend at the gym whose eyes sparkled as he shared about his college plans. I also ran into an old friend who updated me about her marriage and children. All were opportunities to stop, listen, and encourage.
Yes, I believe that at unexpected times, an invitation for something very special comes our way.