I met Julianne first on her blog, To Read To Write To Be. She writes about as often as I do reflecting on her life and teaching. I really do not remember why we connected so easily. We met in person at NCTE14 at the Kidblog.org booth in the grand exhibit hall. Then last summer she was coming to New Orleans with her daughter to look at colleges, so I made plans to meet her. We spent the whole day together and never stopped talking. What fun to show her parts of the city I love. We decided then to be roomies for NCTE15. And now we are close friends.
Today is Spiritual Thursday, a day created by another blogging friend, Holly. We are writing about each other’s One Little Words. Julianne’s word is the theme for today, Admire.
It fits Julianne so well. She is one of those people who stands beneath your wings and helps you fly. She does this for her friends. She does this for her family and for her students.
I think the reason Julianne chose this word was completely unselfish. She wants to admire others in the same way you notice a sunset.
Admire, notice, see, celebrate.
In my own life, I surround myself with people I admire, my family, my friends, my communities. I evaluate and then emulate.
But there are always times when I fall short. I am not the person I want to be, especially when things are not as they should be.
On Sunday, a group of women I belong to, The Berry Queens, held our annual Hats and Hallelujahs brunch. I wasn’t planning to go until a colleague offered a hat that she had won a few years ago at the same event. Like Goldilocks, the hat was just right.
I was so glad I went and not because of the food (delicious cheese grits, bacon, egg casserole, and biscuits) or the singing (a local gospel choir) or the raffle or any of those superficial reasons. I sat next to a woman whom I hadn’t seen in a while. She has been through a great deal of loss (her husband, then her mother), and she moved away. We were talking about tough stuff that you go through and how life can be a cruel teacher. She talked so honestly about her growth and her faith that instead of me offering her comfort, she was giving that to me.
In the end, we stood together and sang “Amazing Grace” knowing in our hearts the true meaning of the words we were singing, “I once was lost and now I’m found. Was blind, but now I see.”
Admiration is opening the window and looking out, letting God speak to you through others. He always will. You just have to notice.