Dealing in Hope

Recently my mom and I had a conversation about some folks that we know that some would refer to as "far right wing".  OK actually if you were living under a rock you would refer to them as far right wing.  We were talking about how upsetting it is that they are so doom and gloom about everything (a common trait I find among the most conservative).  They are the ones that are actually stock piling weapons and liquidating stuff in preparation for the END OF TIMES AS WE KNOW IT! AAAGGGGHHHHH!  I poke fun, but it really does make my heart sad.  When we were talking about how it was that we refused to buy into that hype, my mom said, "I work with children every day.  I have to deal in hope".  I LOVED this and have that mindset frequently when those around me are waiting for the sky to fall.  We have the profound joy/challenge of going to work every day to fight for a better way.  We try to show kids that there is a really cool, great big life out there and "Here is how you build that" whether the odds are stacked against you or not.  Some days it is easier than others.

This year the special needs class that I have in the pool has grown.  We have several new students, new staff, and some of our very favorites have graduated and moved on only to be replaced by new very favorites.  Every day at noon, we all get into the pool for an hour of swimming.  It is, without a doubt, the highlight of my day although it frequently feels like herding cats (for insight on that, see the video at the bottom of this blog).  I stand in the water with them and their joy washes over me like a wave.  I am on the verge of crying all the time because of the love in their hearts and the total abandon with which they love and interact.  They are in the moment.  Every.  Single.  Moment.  They are not making a grocery list in their head, they are not worried about what is happening for dinner, they are not a dozen steps ahead of right now.  I realize that we cannot live this way every day, but man is it a great hour of my day.  There is a spontaneity that is as light as air in that class.  Two of our Down Syndrome kiddos have discovered that they are best friends.  In a moment out on the track, they just held hands because they think the other one is "the best kid ever".  How do you have a bad day with that?

This year I have attempted to reorder my priorities in an effort to put what needs to be at the top actually a little closer to the top.  This is a study in self discipline and faith (hope) in my coworkers, to a certain extent; discipline to say no in the moments that my gut reaction is to just do it because I will do it faster than teaching someone else how to do it, faith that someone will be there to pick up those tasks that I can't pick up anymore.  While my tasks may shift, my focus is more honed than ever before and for that I am grateful.  Every day I learn something new about my students, about how our circumstances may be different, but we all long for the same thing, and ultimately learn more about myself.  If that isn't a reason to defy the naysayers and go on dealing in hope, I don't know what is.


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