At the end of last week, I had two meaningful experiences while at ministry.
On Thursday, I worked the closing shift. After we had finished playing in the gym: balancing on a beam, playing basketball, and watching 4-year olds be more agile with a hula hoop than I am, we went back into the classroom. One of the kids changed demeanor quickly, and I asked him what was wrong. He started to pat his stomach. I held him, and I felt his head...burning up. We went to check his temperature, and unsurprisingly, he had a fever. So I spent the last 10 minutes of the day letting him sleep next to me while I comforted him.
On Friday, we went for a walk because it was *finally* sunny. As we got ready to round the last corner, one of the kids started to squirm. He couldn't hold it anymore and needed to go to the bathroom. And he definitely wasn't playing like some of my fourth graders used to do. But, we still had a bit farther to go. So I picked him up, held him, and started running to get him back to the building. (Yes, we made it back successfully.)
Ah, a day in the life.
Working with children is often weird, gross, sublime, and exciting...all at the same time. It makes me think of this poem from Naomi Shihab Nye:
stepping gently, looking two times north and south,
because his son is asleep on his shoulder.
No car must splash him.
No car drive too near to his shadow.
This man carries the world's most sensitive cargo
but he's not marked.
Nowhere does his jacket say FRAGILE,
HANDLE WITH CARE.
His ear fills up with breathing.
He hears the hum of a boy's dream
deep inside him.
We're not going to be able
to live in this world
if we're not willing to do what he's doing
with one another.
The road will only be wide.
The rain will never stop falling.
Let us handle life with care and with love.
Let us walk in the holy presence.