Even If Just For One

It’s been a long day at the office…well, actually I don’t have an office because I travel for work. In fact, my trusty Toyota Yaris is pretty much the closest thing I have to an office right now. I spend a significant amount of time in there, driving to different communities and schools. It also serves as a closet and sometimes a fridge…in fact, I have three pairs of shoes in there at the moment. This, I blame on the winter because I’m forced to have comfy driving boots, dressy boots for teaching and then a couple other pairs for good measure… however,  for the empty coffee cup and granola bar wrapper: no excuses can be made there.

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                      The Road Ahead

This year I took a position with a local organization that presents on chastity education for students in grade 6-12. I travel all over the province giving presentations on how to respect and honour our bodies, how to have healthy and positive relationships, understanding who we are and the purpose of sex and marriage. The list could go on and on. I am so blessed to have this opportunity to speak with hundreds of young students and open the doors for this conversation.

There are many responses to this kind of job:

  1. ” Do they actually buy into that stuff?” (which is a comment I received this afternoon in the staff room.. so when I said it was a tough day in the office, I wasn’t totally kidding!)
  2. ” Is this sex-ed?” (often what students ask me when I enter in the classroom. I explain that our presentation has a different perspective. So kind of yes, but kind of no)
  3. ” That’s wonderful, it’s a message that kids need to hear” (a really refreshing and positive approach)

To the lady in the staffroom this afternoon, I explained to her that:

  • The program is well received by most students!
  • I don’t pretend that chastity is easy, or even the popular message BUT I definitely tell them that I wouldn’t be talking about it, if I didn’t believe in it
  • Students deserve to hear this! Often times, they only hear the “safe-sex” approach, when they are free to choose another lifestyle such as chastity. High school students are not destined to be sexually active. It’s possible that no one told them about this before

Now, I was inspired to write this post, because as I said it was a difficult day in “the office”. I had a lot of students skip the class when they heard what it was about. In the end, I had 7 students remaining. I won’t deny that I felt an surge of disappointment as I saw the empty seats in the room. However, I continued to speak with the students who were present. After the presentation was done, while they were filling out their evaluation forms, I remembered I had some starbursts (candies) in my bag. I knew there were a few left, but checked to see how many. As they wrote, I went around the room and passed out a candy to each student. Turns out, I had exactly enough for each student. No less. No more. I even had one for myself.

On the drive home, I found myself asking ” What am I doing wrong? Why are the students not attending? Are we missing something here? I was getting close to despairing, when I realized something. Even if I drove out all this way, through the snow and the fog (literally)  to reach one student, it would be worth it. I was so struck by this thought. Take for instance the candies. It’s not just luck that I had the exact number of candies, it was providence. The seven students attending today, were supposed to be there. It didn’t matter that 3/4 of the class bailed!  It was still a huge success that I had 7 students in the room. Seven more hearts who could hear this message and hopefully be touched by it. Honestly, even if I had one kid stay for the presentation, it’s worth sharing.

Turns out after reading those student evaluations, a few of the responses were incredibly positive and touching. There was an openness to this message of chastity and renewed chastity. I think today was so beautiful, for it helped me re-evaluate my criteria for “success”. Of course, I want the students to stay, hear and participate in the presentations. However, if I speak to 1, 7 or 700 students, I will give the presentations with hope. Hope that this message may speak to them. Hope that they grow in respect and love for who they are.

 

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Fly Birdie Fly

imageRecently, I took a trip to British Columbia over the Christmas Holidays. With a new adventure on the horizon, I was ready to take on the day. Mid morning I strolled into the airport, breezed through security and found a spacious and comfortable seat at my gate. While waiting, I noticed my senses were overloaded with the airport buzz. Watching travellers board and exit the plane, hearing the suitcases zip zipping, smelling the Tim Hortons beside me, holding and sipping my black coffee… it was bliss. Or so I thought.

Flight 163 Saskatoon-Calgary: DELAYED

As an avid traveller (or so I like to think), these are some of the worst words to stumble across in the airport. What’s more, is hearing the airport employee come on the intercom and deliver this sort of message, “ Your plane has not yet left Calgary due to a snow storm. They are currently sitting on the tarmac in Calgary waiting for takeoff. We will let you know when we receive any further information”.  The click of the intercom rings through the silent terminal. I glanced around the room. Face are grim, children are crying, lights are flickering, and the storm rolls in… well, not exactly. The fact is, people aren’t happy with the news, but there is nothing to be done about it. Although we line up to speak to the employees, double check on our connecting flights, and ask questions we know are unanswerable at this point… we try to control the situation.

This scenario above (I ended up missing my connecting flight… but that’s a story for another day) taught me an interesting lesson. I really had to reflect on what had just transpired. I found myself faced with two choices; 1. Get angry about the situation & sulk 2. embrace the extra airport time. Now in all honesty, I chose option number 1 for a few minutes.. but once I realized that was going to ruin my day, I transitioned to choice number 2.

What struck me was this; so often do we try to control everything in our lives. We want to plan everything. Know the outcome of our choices, our decisions, our relationships, our futures. We wan’t to take control of simple everyday tasks because we think we know the best way. We often refuse help, or deny others the chance to get involved, simply because of our fixed visions.

Sitting at the gate, amidst my fellow passengers, it was evident that there was no way around this. We were stuck in the Saskatoon airport with no departure time in sight. Not only were we at the complete mercy of the Calgary storm, but we had to wait until the pilot was given clearance to take off, the flight time, the landing, the cleaning and the boarding of our passengers.

This moment was an incredible reality check for me. To remember that there are so many aspects of our lives that we can’t predict. A lot of our life is about letting go, making sacrifices and being open to different paths! Things could change in an instant and we truly need to be thankful for the moments we are given. They are a gift. In this frame of mind, things don’t have to be so upsetting either. Life is a beautiful adventure. As I have heard it said many times before, we need to ” let go & let God” (insert Disney Frozen song here…). It’s about learning how to surrender to the lack of control, the chaos, the adjustments and the surprises. I honestly think life can be a whole lot more joyful, stress free and authentic when we can actually do this!

So here’s to a crazy airport disaster (if I had a glass of wine I’d raise my glass) turned into a beautiful moment of gratitude and appreciation for the moments I have been given.

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Here’s a great photo I captured from Instagram.. super difficult to do, but definitely possible with some divine Help!