Perhaps softened by the forced reflection that comes with loss and trauma, I have a particular fondness for people who have come from hard places, or gone through hard things. All my favorite people have heaps of baggage. Today, I got to spend a bit of time with a group of kids who fit that description. I was invited to return to speak with students at The Avalon School which is part of Villa of Hope. The Avalon School is a specialized day school for kids who have a variety of psycho-social, emotional and/or behavioral needs.
Y’all, these are my people.
Strength and resilience don’t come from never having been broken. Strength and resilience come from the slow, healing process after brokenness or trauma. After I spoke, there was a brief question and answer time, which is always my favorite portion of any speaking event. No question is off-limits, and being open to discuss anything gives others an opportunity to share some of their own story. I am always amazed at how transparent people are willing to be with me. It is such a sacred privilege to carry someone else’s story, and I do not take that for granted.
Some kids opened up about their traumas for the first time since being at this school. My heart was overflowing and my mind was blown. What was supposed to be my act of kindness quickly became a gift to me, primarily due to their brave willingness to let me in, and then on top of that, they went and surprised me with a gift and these beautiful flowers.
This is my dream job. I get to connect with hurting people for a living. To offer hope, to share faith, to ask questions, to listen and encourage… what an unbelievable gift.
For yesterday’s #AdamsActs, I treated Jay to a donut after his audiology appointment even though he literally did a terrible job there. Don’t get me wrong, I think he legitimately tried his best. But, man… his best is hovering juuuuust above the worst in history. Hahaha… the child cannot sit still. He cannot be quiet. He cannot stop himself from verbalizing a running commentary of every single thought that pops into his brain. It’s like living with a James Joyce novel playing in fast motion in the background at all times. Except all the words are adorably mispronounced.
At one point, he gives the audiologist a huge grin like this:
Then as soon as she walks out, immediately looks over his shoulder at me, gives me these skeptical “get a load of this lady” side-eyes and says “I don’t think this is very useful. Is she really talking about beef?”
Clearly he couldn’t hear anything she was saying without his hearing aids. He will be getting an FM system at school - which basically means his teacher will wear a microphone that will beam her voice directly into his hearing aids. It will probably help him learn and pay attention, but he is not thrilled. The idea of kids having to pass around a microphone so that he can hear what they are saying, isn’t exactly ideal for a kid who just wants to fit in. JK he doesn’t care about fitting in. All he wants to do is lie under a cardboard box and pretend to rebuild an engine. Without anyone talking directly into his ear canal. This will be something that will require his own form of strength and resilience, and he has to deal with hearing loss for the rest of his life because he was essentially overdosed with antibiotics at birth… sooooo, he gets a donut alright?
After that, some of us on the church staff brought lunch to all the teachers at a local public school. It was a lot of Panera. The teachers were really excited and I think they felt supported, appreciated and recognized for the work they do - which was our goal. While this was technically a part of my job, I added a little personal flare of kindness by loudly and spontaneously complimenting people like someone who has no filter - or basically, like myself.
Thanks to all who have reached out since my last post. (Catch up HERE if you missed it.) From the messages I have been receiving, it appears that some of the feelings I expressed hit a sensitive nerve with a lot of you. Thank you for trusting me with your stories and your feelings. If I could, I would buy each and every single one of you a fancy spider donut.
Even if you did a really bad job today and all you were able to accomplish was lying under a cardboard box.