I hope you all are well and having great start to the school year. I know that I am. I am enjoying Winston-Salem and my time with the TAP project immensely. I have began to write my thoughts about this journey several times, but there was a missing link in my story. It was hard for me to articulate what I am doing here this year. It was on Monday that I had my epiphany moment.
I work thirty hours a week at the Children’s Center, a school for children birth- age 11 with physical and mental disabilities. During the day, I do alot of feeding children- breakfast and lunch, babies though school aged. When I am not feeding, I am doing clerical work- answering phones, making copies and labels, and a popery other task, or I am playing with kids on the playground and assisting in classrooms and in music. This list of things may be what I do, but it took me until Monday to figure out what I really do. Everyday, I am doing small things with great amounts of love. This is what I really do. When I feed J. his breakfast in the morning, I am showing him love. And his teachers said that it makes a difference. He has a better day. Once I realized that it is not the act of feeding him that changes his mood, it was the way I preformed this small task, with great love, I realized that this teachers might be right. I was doing a small task as if it were great and noble. And this can make someones day. Besides, feeding J., I have another school “best friend,” M. M. is a young man who has severe autism. He is one of those special cases, that even at this unique school, he seems out of place. I sit, and keep him still during music and during nap times as often as I can, and try and keep him still a quiet, instead of taking him out of the classroom. I have realized that sometimes, touch and though positive pressure can work wonders and be very soothing. When I walk with M., people say that I have a way with him, and are grateful for our relationship and my ability to keep him calmer. They now call me that M. Whisperer.
Small things, with great amounts of love. Its just not feeding J, and being the M. Whisperer. I also have intentional conversations. Trying to live in the moment, be in the conversation, get to know the staff that I work with. I think we all need someone in our lives, and in our workplace to have those conversations with. Whether that are as mundane as what did you do this weekend, or as deep as discussing the power of touch or ways to better connect to the earth. It is important to me to have these conversations and to care, to truly love and care. Twice this week during a conversation, and intentional conversation, I was told how grateful they were for my presents and the love that I was able to radiate in the school. In the conversation today, I was told that it has been talked about among the staff, that I just have presents like I am really happy here and that I was meant to be here, that infectious smile. This was lovely to hear, and I knew what they were talking about, the classic Elizabeth smile, the one that got my the nick-name “Smiley.” I was glad to hear that that trait is still present and helping me make a difference in the world around me.
When I am not at the Children’s Center, I have lots of time for myself. Some of that time is spent at the church in sunday worship, evening prayer, and with the children and youth. I also spend my time hiking, biking, running, picking flowers, reading, listening, dancing, and being a friend. More to come on this subject.
In whatever I do since graduating college, I am continually asking myself two questions: Will I be able to love? and Will I be able to grow? I ask myself the question multiple times a day, whether it is a big question like is the Abraham Project a good fit for me? or a small question like should I go to game night? Since my arrive here for My Abraham Project year, I have continually said “Yes!” to these questions. I have grow and love beyond measure, and my cup is constantly full because of it.
My challenge for you is to have intentional conversations with those whom you meet. Figure out what “intentional conversations” means to you, and then go. Be present, be there, in that moment, in that conversation with love. So much love and prayers.
Peace and Adventure,