Thank you. You. The person who is connected to me by that first degree of separation.
Perhaps you crafted the coffee I decided to splurge on tonight. Maybe it was the end of your shift. And maybe you are afraid that this is as good as it gets, maybe you are afraid that you had one chance and lost it, so this is as good as it gets. Despite your fears you did it just right, white-hot foam and the perfect balance of peppermint and coffee; it was tempting, I know, to forget those little details, take the easy way out, and offer me a mediocre mocha. But you didn’t.
Or maybe you passed me on the street and you summoned up a smile. Or you saw that I was trying to turn left, in front of you, so when the light turned yellow you stopped instead of it gunned it.
Thanks to the person who can read the tax code like a wizard reads forgotten languages, who can summon the right numbers into the right columns. Thanks to the guy in the auto supply shop who helps me find the right kind of break fluid. I am sure it tempting to shake your head in wonder that I can even figure out how to put my pants on in the morning. I am so deficient in your little corner of the world.
And thank you to those of you separated by two degrees of separation. The people who can bring gifts of wisdom to my kids; teachers, and friends, and frenemies and even enemies of them. Manager at the star bucks; mom who taught the driver at the light courtesy; tax code teacher of the tax code guru; supportive coworker of the patient auto supply store guy.
In that third degree of seperation, the people who get the stuff I need where it needs to go, the people who equipped my kids’ teachers, the Starbucks manager, the driver’s mom, etc.
They say that there are seven degrees of separation and that we all exist in these seven levels with each other. Seven concentric rings. Seven pebbles dropped in the water, rippling outword. A seven-tiered spider web, each of us living in the middle of our own, interconnected with every other person. Everywhere. Ever. It is the nature of geometry that each ring gets bigger than the previous…
Thank you for what you do. Because the other day the pastor was preaching about work, the holiness of it. He said some things that got me to thinking about why I do the things I do. The answer was so easy for me.
I teach kids who have almost nothing. They are kids that have been locked up. Kids that have been forgotten. Kids that have been abused, broken, and so very much worse. Of course there are days that my job sucks. But in that moment, it was so very easy for me. Why do I do the things I do?
Because that is where Jesus lives. I get to live with Jesus. Every single day, right here, in my tiny little circle.
I had this overwhelming sense of how easy it is for me to see him here, among the sick, naked, orphans. Even a blind man who hadn’t had the scales taken off his eyes could see it.
Out of all the people connected to me, how many people could claim this incredible blessing? Ten percent? One percent?
It became worth it; being so underpaid. Having to put my hands on kids who aren’t safe. Facing a mirror of my own brokeness, in the incredible brokeness of others, every time I look in my own students eyes, it became so worth it.
Thank you. I could not make a mocha, or do my taxes, or figure out what kind of break fluid to put in my car. For some reason I can never explain, I ended up in a place where it is so easy to see Jesus every single day. It must be hard, some days, to see Jesus in the places where so many other people are. But we need people in those places, too, and he is there, I know that he is. So thank you, for working in those places where he is hard to find.