I had an experience a couple of weeks ago that just keeps playing in my head every time I have a bad day. It brings me joy and I hope it brings you some joy too.
On a particularly frustrating Friday I found my moments filled with all of the ridiculous things that pull my attention from the parts of my job that feel like they matter. The day was full of things that make me stressed, make me question the goodness of others and just plain annoying things make my job less fun. I was finally sitting down at my desk to check my email and get a few things done when my cell phone rang. After such a long day, I had a moment of wishing I could ignore it but I answered and one of our amazing Lead Teachers told me that she was bringing students home for the evening from one of our after school programs and that the van was stuck in the snow. Really stuck. I guess a foot of snow has that effect on vehicles. So, off to my car I went to rescue them from the snow, not really sure how helpful I could be but feeling like I should at least try. I arrived at the van and sent our teacher in my car to get the remaining kids dropped off at home while I tried to drive the van out of the slippery home it had settled into. I am a South Dakota girl and was determined not to let the snow win. Unfortunately, sheer determination and my skills weren’t enough. I was stuck. Really, really stuck.
Here’s where it gets good. A young man came up to offer me advice. His English wasn’t really strong but with his little bit of English and my tiny bit of Spanish, we made a good team. He gave me some advice and even tried to push it out but we weren’t making much headway. I felt a lot less alone and even started to giggle as he belly laughed while we dealt with the winter wonderland.
Out of a nearby home came a family of four, two of our former students now in middle school and their parents. The kids were translating for his parents in Arabic so that they could give me advice as well. Their next door neighbor, a retired trucker came with tips and encouragement to join the party. As the kids stood on the side, cheering us all on, we tried to solve the problem. Within moments, we were un-stuck. I drove away a bit to a less snowy spot to stop and waved and yelled thank you over the sound of the cheering children.
I drove on to park the van at the program and simply couldn’t believe what had just happened. I learned a few things from my time in a snow pile that I think are worth repeating.
First, there is little I can do on my own. God often reminds me that He will take care of me and take care of situations that seem so out of hand or stuck. He usually sends caring people to do just that. I think of the work of LSS and am struck by how often we help people out of feeling stuck or prepare them to handle tough moments that could come.
Second, we can do so much with a common goal and often a common goal is what brings us together. Those neighbors may have never met had they not shared the common goal of a giant white van in a snowbank. I certainly was impacted that day. I like to think they may have been as well, even if it just means they wave and smile at a now familiar face as they pass in their busy lives. A common goal brings us together and as a team, we can do so much more.
Philippians 2:1-5 says:
1 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 5In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.
The last thing I learned is that the good and kind and caring people in the world outnumber those that are not. Given the opportunity, most of us want very much to be kind to others and are caring. Often those that hurt others are people that are feeling hurt. Often those that are making a difference are those that have had someone make a difference for them. The impact we are making every day at LSS seems then, in my mind, to have an exponential impact.
Luke 10:27 says “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and your neighbor as yourself.”
That is just what we do at LSS, isn’t it? Love our neighbors. We are part of the good that is happening and the world is a better place because of our shared work toward a common goal. That brings me such joy, even when I feel stuck.
Heather DeWit, Director of Childcare and Education Services