When aging teachers become exhausted, they'll sometimes grab a huge breath and say things like, "Well, at least it keeps you young," it meaning working with kids. Even though this old teacher has "worked with kids" for just about forty years, I'm not always so sure the old line holds water. I feel ancient, withered, shell-shocked--just plain wiped out.For several days I hung around a high school choir from Rehoboth, New Mexico. On Tuesday, they did three assemblies in elementary schools on the Rosebud Reservation--three school assembles BEFORE noon. Just watching them mix it up and hold those kids' attention through all sorts of shenanigans made me feel like a dishrag. And then this--the moment they were through--even before they had lunch!--someone picked up a basketball in the gym at St. Francis, and a ton of them started playing ball.
After four days with them, I swear I'm no younger. It's taken me about 48 hours to feel as if the ship of my state has been somehow righted.
I don't know that I've been as thrilled to the core of my soul in a long time, however, as I've been by these kids. Some people say that in our post-doctrinal age, a time when people are eminently spiritual but sometimes not particularly religious, a time when people search for meaning but may not look too diligently in churches, the future of evangelism may well lie, simply, in bringing the world beauty. What may attract people to belief in God almighty is not reason or truth but, in an often gray world, the brilliance of a rainbow.
I've got no crystal ball, but it seems to me that these indefatigable kids brought fun and joy and exuberant life into the schools they visited--no matter what color the kids. But that's not all. They also brought sheer, voluminous beauty, in great abundance.
This morning, still in recovery and back home, I'm deeply thankful for being able to hang around for awhile. I can't speak for the hundreds of kids they've touched, but, even though I'm no younger, I certainly have been deeply blessed.