Monday, November 11, 2013

Those small moments

November 11, in my opinion is far too early for the first snowfall, and the freezing temperatures that come with it.

Despite my personal opinions, the snow decided to come on November 11 this year, bringing with it the reminder that we choose daily how to love others. What?! Snow and loving others?! That makes no sense...but it totally does.

Spending the day with 26 first graders has its many perks--like a steady stream of funny quotes, spending the day playing, a new day every day, and often the most humbling, the ability to see the world through the eyes of a child.

At some point in the morning it began to rain, so we had indoor recess at lunch time. Right before dismissal, the obnoxious, permeating rain turned into an even colder precipitation, snow. My immediate inclination was irritation. We skipped recess, meaning the little humans had an even higher amount of energy (and a much louder noise level). The classroom felt chaotic. I wanted nothing more than to put on my coat, bundle up, and drive home in silence.  After pack up, I walked with my kids down the center stairs, which has a beautiful view of the Chicago skyline. All eight or so of those kids ran down the stairs, shrieking with joy, "it's snowing! It's snowing!" They lingered over the beautiful picture of snow covering the skyline. The pure joy and excitement of those faces, the expectation and hope captured in their faces was more than enough to make me feel like the day was worth it, though I had nothing to do with that uncontainable joy.

I'm proud to say that in that moment, I chose to live into the moment, celebrating with my kids the gift (yes, I said gift!) of snow, and all the excitement that comes with the changing of seasons. I'm proud to say I fought the urge to use reminding language to tell them of all they should be doing-- walking, instead of running, using inside voices instead of yelling, leaving school for the day instead of lingering, thereby extending my work day. It wouldn't have worked, had I tried, as they were so wrapped up in that snowfall and picturesque scene.

While I am not always proud of those decisions I make--I often find myself choosing irritation over rejoicing-- choosing to celebrate with those kids in that moment allowed me to see the world through the lens of a child. Pure, unbridled joy over the first snowfall, unconcerned with the frigid temperature or the fact that a car windshield will need to be scraped. Those faces and exclamations spoke of hopeful anticipation of a snow day the following morning, for hot chocolate and Christmas trees.

That small, first snowfall of the season set a good tone for the season I hate most of all (just the weather part!). It reminded me of the great privilege I have of showing those 26 little humans love every day, if I just lean into it, and am blessed in doing so. It challenged me to rethink those hardest moments and to consider how they might look if I didn't immediately fall backwards into the trap of annoyance. In these moments I choose who I want to be, how I want to live like Christ, if even with overly-excited first graders.

 How are you choosing to show love in the little moments--in those moments that most need an infusion of love?