I have a myriad of things to talk about and I keep thinking I'd just throw it all into one Facebook post, but then length, and spell check, and whatever. So here we are. Stay with me? This isn't the normal thing I do around here, but I have some stuff that is just pressing on me. And it's kinda snarky. And I'm sorry for cussing so much, mom.
1) One of my kids died this week. I spoke about him in my Labels post. The kid whose brother died, and he was an alcoholic, and he just had struggles. He was working at a convenience store, and I'd often see him and ask how things were going. "I'm living," he'd say, with a shrug of his shoulders. The picture in his obituary just wrecked me. His big brown eyes are sad. They are just sad. I'm having problems connecting the kid that I knew with the kid that struggled so mightily. And I toss around that why question pretty regularly. I'm an adult and I don't know how I'd handle the things thrown at him - still a baby. Why should one person be forced to carry so much? His load was too heavy. And now my heart is heavy.
2) I have Facebook whiplash. One day, America is shocked and shouty and angry about the election, and the next, "OH MY GOSH THANK YOU TO ALL OF THE VETERANS!" My family is full of veterans. And they are good men. Strong men. Funny, smart, and selfless. Godly. And I love them today just as much as I did yesterday. I'm proud of their service, and I'm proud of the children they have raised and are raising. I'm proud of the lives they live every day.
My issue here is that people were malicious on Wednesday and Thursday and loving on Friday. The Boyfriend called America bi-polar tonight and I agree. At some point on Thursday, I literally tossed up my hands and laughed. Who are you guys? Surely my friends don't harbor such hate. Surely the people that I love to do life with are not batshit-freaking-crazy. Surely.
Here's a truth for you all: We have to do better at loving each other. And that includes on Facebook, Twitter, behind computers, and with every single comment you leave on every single Internet space. Jesus called us to love our neighbors and that doesn't just mean sometimes. We are not a Sometimes Love Kind of People. We are an Always People.
Your neighbor has a need and you walk over and you fill it. Not just because his lawn is trimmed and you like how he brings you barbecue every now and then. You help him - even if his leaves blow in your yard, or if his music is too loud on Tuesday nights, or if he has not showered since the (first) Clinton administration. You help him. Because that's what people do.
Here's another hard truth: It starts at home. You tell your babies to love each other. Black, white, Hispanic, Sundanese, Refuge, Citizen, Immigrant, Migrant, Fascist, Socialist, Communist, Every Other Ist - you tell your kids to love one another. You preach to them to put their arms around the needy and you tell them to fill needs where they see them. You tell your kids to hold hands with difference. Get to know uncertainty. Walk wildly with bravery. Set a standard that the older generations will learn from. You tell them to do the good and be the good and respect each other's differences.
Which leads me to my favorite thing today -
3) I teach in a school that is like 90% Hispanic. I walked lightly into my building on Wednesday (after the election results were pretty clear), ready and waiting to enter the fray. One didn't come. My senior honors class watched Hillary's concession speech and then we carried on with our day. There were no biting remarks. There were honest questions that we, as teachers, can't answer.
They marched on.
My kids did cooperative learning today in groups of four and it's a normal thing in my room. White kids working with Hispanic and Sundanese kids and it's freaking harmony. They talk with each other, laugh with each other, learn from each other and they GET IT.
People scoff a lot when I tell them where I work every day. Because listen: we are a failing school. There really is no sugar coating that. Our test scores are bleak.
But I gotta tell you -
I'll choose them every day and twice on Sunday.
I have a gifted cross country runner that works so hard in school every single day and is from a refugee camp. His momma makes some goooooood food. A co-worker today talked about a girl whose momma died after being poisoned and her daddy was killed in another camp. Like this is their LIFE. Every day life. And they are in our chairs every day. And we are teaching them.
And you guys are out there calling each other names on Facebook like it really matters and instead - you know what?
Pick up a damn shovel and start digging in.
My 16-year-olds are handing them out every day when you're ready.
And then? Let's like, you know, do some actual work. Or whatever.
. About Moi .
I love, love, love flannel sheets and I am really passionate about lists on post it notes and most of the time I'm sad that no one else is as excited as I am about Diet Mountain Dew. I also adore run-on sentences.
He saw her before he saw
anything else in the room.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald
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