“We’re completely lost in our own world – egoists! Or maybe we’re locked into ourselves, and even though we want to break out, we can’t seem to do it. It takes someone else to help us, a person who breaks in or has a way of letting us out. Or we stumble into some moment, some situation, that wakes us up, gets us enough off track to open up our eyes, our ears, our musty minds!” – William Carlos Williams
Sometimes we all just need to be taken out of our own world and brought back to reality and we never know what will bring us back.
All of our programs started up again at the end of January after a break for Christmas and the New Year. The start of this semester of programs meant something new for me; I was now in charge of our mentoring program. I wasn’t just helping out; I was totally in charge of it. This thought, that I would be in charge, totally freaked me out and was the only thing on my mind for weeks prior to the start of mentoring. This thought consumed all of my thoughts and actions and I was so nervous I would mess something up or do something wrong or fail the program. One thing I was told by Kristen, the former program director, was that all I needed to do was to love the kids and everything would be fine, not to worry about anything else. She also told me that there was no way for me to mess anything up because everything would just fall into place the first day no matter how much I planned or freaked out. Ok, so all I needed to do was to love these kids with all of my heart and everything would be ok? I was going to try.
That whole Wednesday I couldn’t keep my thoughts straight and my nerves were already shot before getting to mentoring. We put all of the supplies out, put snack out and that just left waiting for the kids and mentors to show up, when my role would really kick in. So as I was anxiously sitting and waiting, about half of our kids showed up. All that could be heard was “I love you guys”,” I’ve missed you so much”, “where’s my hug?!”, “ahh I’m so excited to be at mentoring again”, and my personal favorite that gave me a good chuckle “what’s for snack?”. But my favorite part of this moment was when one of our younger kids, Kathy, came running at me full speed, stopped about a foot from me and jumped up into my arms. As Kathy jumped into my arms, she said “I’ve missed you soooooooo much!!!”. In that moment everything I had been worrying about melted away. I that moment I knew everything would go well.
Without knowing it, Kathy brought me back to the reality of everything, back into the present. She brought me out of my mind and into the moment. I knew that even if I did make a mistake, these kids would still love me and shower me with hugs “just because”. I knew deep down in my heart that my love for these kids is huge and nothing could ever change that.
All of these moments that I share with the kids are the special moments that I could possibly miss by staying locked inside of myself but these kids bring me back to the present on a daily basis, just by being themselves. I am constantly reminded of how blessed I am to have these kids in my life, as all I need is a hug from one of them for my day to be turned around. They are constantly running into the meeting room where mentoring is held and rushing for hugs. I also get the occasional “I love you soo much”, which is truly amazing when these kids look into your eyes and say that with such emotion. It’s hard to believe that I didn’t know these kids prior to August, but yet they have so much love for me, and I them. These kids bring me back to the reality of what this year is all about just by being themselves. Being brought back to the reality of this year is exactly what I need, to be reminded that this year is all about the people and experiences with the people; it’s not necessarily about the actual “doing” of things but of the “being” with the people.
All of the kids I work with in mentoring bring something different to the table. They all have their different talents and skills, but they all do it with love. They bring so much love and energy into everything they do and say. And that’s what this whole year is about…love!! Back in our AMA Orientation, the 4 of us decided our theme was going to be “525,600 minutes, how do you measure a year? Measure in love.” And that’s what I am doing, I am measuring this year in love.
If I get nothing else from this year but love, I would say that this is a wildly successful year. Knowing I have been given so much love by so many people and also am giving so much love to so many, I know that love is more important than anything else I could gain. Love is something that stays with a person, the kind words, the hugs, and the look in a person’s eye; that is all that matters in life. Love.
I found this quote in a book I am reading called “The Call of Service” by Robert Coles, and I feel like it describes how I am starting to feel, knowing that over half of my year here in Worcester is over. “I’ve got four more months here, and when I leave, that’s when I’ll be starting to figure out what this has all meant! Probably for the rest of my life I’ll be influenced by what happened to me here – I now think differently. I agree, it all could begin to wear off later. But I doubt it. Some of these kids have taught me a million times more than I’ve taught them.” – From “The Call of Service”
This quote is so true; these kids are teaching me more than I will ever know. But what I do know is that my heart is constantly full of so much love because of these kids and their families, who without knowing it, bring so much joy and love to my life and so many other lives as well. So as I begin to think about what this year will have been for me and if I have made a difference at all, I know that this love which is shared is truly all that matters.
In the words of Kristen “All you’ve got to do is love these kids, that’s all that matters”