Sunday, October 14, 2012

Kind of a big deal.

  I once had a shirt that said "I'm kind of a big deal" written on the front. I wish I still had it because for once wearing it would not feel like a stretch. This past month I have been doing my "Book the Author" event at schools around Nassau. Let me tell you, these readings have been a sincere highlight for me and the way the children have responded to me have indeed made me feel like I was kind of a big deal! 

Don't worry, I am not tooting my horn in this blog. Trust me, I still have to drive my own dented car, return home to cook dinner and my clothes are only washed when  I meet them  in the laundry room with soap in hand. So no need to bring me back to reality, I am well versed in the everyday life. But for  a few moments at a time when I am reading to the students I do feel like a bit of a rock star! But more than that, I love it because I am doing something  I was created to do and I sincerely do not want to take the credit for what God has done in my life.

The children when they approached me after the reading often want to meet me and speak with me, remember the only competition I have in that moment is  for them to return to math class so yeah, I am the runaway favorite.  Instead of standing there telling all about how awesome I am, because in the moment I think they would believe anything I say,  I purposely try to  turn the tables on them. 

 I will often encourage them to write their own story, take risks with things they want to see done in their lives and mostly remind them that their story counts. In the end I hope  they go away not just meeting an author but feeling encouraged and inspired to write their own story because everyone has a story to tell, everyone. 

There is one particular moment that took place after I was finished a reading that I want to relate to you, not just because it was perhaps one of the sweetest moments but I think there is a grander tale to learn from all of this. I had just finished reading to a group of near 300 students when I notice a beautiful boy in grade 2 waiting just to my side until the crowds had thinned. I turned to him and crouched down. I shook his hand and asked him his name. He told me and then drew closer to me and said, in a bold but quiet voice," would you like to see my illustrations?" He looked down, hoping but not counting on a positive answer from me. "Of course" I said, " I would love to!" You cannot imagine his smile.

 I stood back up and asked him to show me, when I was promptly grabbed and turned to the opposite direction by another waiting student who assumed that my rising was the sign that I was done this conversation and began asking me about 5 questions at once. It was during this time I lost sight of my budding illustrator. 10 minutes passed and I assumed he had been whisked away with his class and I had lost my chance to speak with him again. I started to pack up my materials and thanked the librarian for such a great opportunity when she pointed me to the door where my little illustrator was waiting. Not just waiting, but patiently waiting and holding the door open for me to follow him. He must have been there the full 10 minutes since we spoke. 

I approached him and said I was glad to still see him as I thought I had lost him. "No",  he replied "I was just waiting for you to come and see my drawings, they are in the classroom."  I asked him to show the way. I felt like Alice in Wonderland trying to follow the excited rabbit, down the corridors he went and around corners, I often lost sight of him only to turn the corner and see him waiting for me.We finally arrived at the classroom, where he went straight to his desk to get his drawings. He handed them carefully to me for inspection. I could feel his eyes boring a hole through mine as he studied me studying his illustrations. 

"You did these all by yourself?" I asked. He grinned and  proudly told me yes. "They are excellent" I said, "just excellent". We talked about how he came up with the ideas, and what others he had drawn that currently were not available to show (meaning they were at his house). When we finished I asked him again how old he was, he replied 8. I told him then when he is done college in about 13 years he needs to look me up so we can do a book together, I will write it and he will illustrate it.  It was a special moment. This young boy felt so appreciated, so worthy of attention, so important, in the end he felt like he was kind of a big deal. 

Let me bring this long example to a bigger meaning. We were all born with a purpose, all of us. All of us have  a story, have something to show that is uniquely ours, it is a gift that we have been given to use for a greater purpose.  Let others see them, let yourself see them but most of all let the One who gave you your gifts and talents see you shine a light in this world through them. 

The little boy, my budding illustrator is figuring out he shines greatly, not just through his ability to draw but through his willingness to show himself truly. Did you notice he waited  to be able to show me, that took a lot of patience for an 8 year old. But he knew it was important to bring his drawings and his new friend Allie together  so he waited. We as adults do not wait very well, even more noticeably we do not wait well when we are feeling vulnerable. So instead of waiting to shine, we deny we can and move away so to avoid disappointment should  others not approve. This boy, waited despite protests from his friends that he was needed on the playground, despite  teachers asking him what he was doing, he waited because he knew his gift needed to be seen, that there was a part of him that could shine and he was determined. It was this determination that made the moment even more special, more rock star like, and because of it this boy shone greatly.

 Don't ever deny that you were created to shine. You are not just kind of a big deal, you are a big deal whether you know it or not.  Never stop looking for that purpose and never stop shining God's light into this world through the gifts he has given you.

Shine on my Rock star friends.. you are brilliant..even if you do not know it yet.