Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Full Circle

Have you ever had a full circle moment? I haven't lived a lot of life, but I have been lucky enough to have several full circle moments. A full circle moment, for me, is a moment where you have a beautiful, satisfying sense of completeness. It's when things literally come "full circle". You're back where you started from, but somehow it's way, way better. Full circle moments have a wonderful complexity that only God can orchestrate. They cause me to think back and be in awe of what God has done.

When I have a full circle moment, there are two thoughts in my head simultaneously: (1) NO WAY this is actually happening to me. (2) Thank you, thank you, thank you Lord.

I've been lucky enough to have several full circle moments lately, so here are some examples.

Full Circle #1: Six years ago, I graduated from college and made a crazy decision to move to Houston, get certified, and teach in the inner city. I had NO IDEA what I was doing. I repeat: NO IDEA. I hope I didn't do any irreparable harm to the kids in my class that first year. I SUCKED. But, something kept me going, and I loved learning about teaching. A few months ago, I sat in a huge ballroom and won a somewhat prestigious teaching award for the City of Houston. Pretty sure that was not my doing.

Full Circle #2: As a senior in college, I put on my horrible black suit and walked up and down the business career fair with sweaty palms and resumes in a leather portfolio. I talked to the recruiters and thought I would never get a job, much less get to where they were. One month ago, I got to stand BEHIND those very career center tables, but this time, I was recruiting for YES. I got to encourage the very people who were me not that long ago.

Full Circle #3 happened just last week. First, the background: When I was in middle and high school, I was in choir. I had some visionary choir directors who started a great tradition. Every year, we had a Christmas party. But before the party, we always went to a local nursing home to sing carols to the residents. I started looking forward to the nursing home more than the party! I don't think it's my life calling or anything, but I really enjoy working in nursing homes. After high school, I started a small ministry in Dallas where my friends and I sang at about 7 nursing homes each year before Christmas. After college, I got busy and never really did it again. Fast forward to now. At YES, kids are required to do a certain number of community service hours. We actually take a school day each six weeks to have kids do service. This year, each teacher is sponsoring a project that they are passionate about. We then take a small group of kids with us to do service. For me, the natural choice seemed to be a nursing home.

Last Wednesday was our first service day. I was REALLY nervous about bringing 30 seventh graders to a nursing home. I had all kinds of disaster scenarios running through my head. I tried to prepare them the best I could, but I kept my expectations reasonable. My teaching partner, who knows me well, said to me that morning, "You're going to cry today." I adamantly denied that prediction. Once we got to the nursing home, the kids just did beautifully. I could not believe that the very same kids who made me want to tear my hair out the day before were treating elderly people with such compassion and patience. THEY TOTALLY GOT IT. We played games, passed out cards, and talked with residents. All was going well, and I was holding it together. Until... they passed out songbooks. The activity director was like, "Oh, we love to sing here! We have a sing-along every day. Would your kids want to sing with us?" Do we want to sing with you???? Um..... yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!! I took one look at our kids holding songbooks for elderly people and singing songs, and I completely lost it. I suddenly had a full circle moment, and the tears rolled. My teaching partner laughed and said, "Told you so!" but they were such happy tears.

The kids are so excited to go back next month, and now have tons of ideas about what we can do for the residents. Thank you, thank you, thank you Lord! The way you orchestrate things in life is beyond my comprehension, but I am so grateful.

Now TELL ME these pictures don't melt your heart just a little bit.

Look at the picture below and take a guess as to the lady's former profession. You guessed it: Music teacher. You can't make this stuff up.



Liz said...

I'm so proud of you Katie!!! It is really gratifying for one of your "old" choir directors (OK - I was ONLY 22 when I started teaching you and I CERTAINLY had no idea what I was doing back then!!!!)to see how you've developed into a fabulous, passionate teacher!! It is definitely a "full circle" moment for me to read about what you are doing - and to see that two other former students - Lindsay Zachary and Kitty Davis are now both music teachers in RISD!!!!

Lindsay said...

Precious pictures...love it! Great job Gigs!

Kate and Zach said...

I love your posts!! They always either really excite me or make me tear up... You are so great!

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