It was a pretty cool image, and I couldn’t resist snapping some shots with my phone. Rows of lockers filled my screen, like hundreds of soldiers standing at attention, white notes proudly pinned to their chests. More than 1700 lockers when all was said and done. Some of the notes were encouraging: Don’t be afraid to be you, because YOU are amazing, The world is a better place because YOU are in it and You were created for a purpose that only YOU can fill. Others were more motivational: You CAN do it, I believe in you, and Never give up. Many were sweet: You’re beautiful just the way you are and You’ve got the kindness thing down. Then there were the others. The funnies, the silly ones. Messages like I bet you sweat glitter and You are better than a unicorn ’cause you’re real.
The Be the Change Club at the school where I am on staff had decided to create notes for Random Acts of Kindness week (today is officially the last day, but hey, it ought to be a way of life so let’s keep those random acts going!), and on Valentine’s Day, each locker at the school would have a note taped to it. We worked tirelessly for a couple of weeks creating the notes and then, after the final bell on Monday, gathered together to attach them. I liked the idea that each student would start the day with a positive message, but I also wondered a bit about the silly ones. Most of our students are pushing through extremely difficult circumstances, and I somehow thought they might need something inspirational or motivational rather than funny.
Until a couple of days later.
I had just given myself a time out after some particularly intense classroom moments. Working with students that have SEDs (Severe Emotional Disabilities) is a bit draining on any given day, but then there are moments that are more intense than others. I was walking down the hall, arguing discussing with God (silently of course…didn’t need to be put on my own SED program…) whether or not this current job position is a good fit for me. So much time, energy, heart, and finances are invested for barely perceptible results. Some days it feels like I’m not doing any good at all, and maybe it’s time to look for an easier work day. Then God reminded me of a young Moses, who had serious anger issues in his youth (“Remember, Marie, in Exodus 2, he murdered someone in what was likely a moment of anger? And he needed a good bit of time away, in a safe environment, to mature into who he was supposed to be.”) “But,” I countered…
As the internal argument discussion continued, I glanced up and noticed a teacher I knew – just slightly – approaching. We had talked a bit on a few occasions; he had proudly shown off photos of his wife and child, I had once brought him coffee when he was having a bad day and he had made me a humorous thank you card in return. Not many interactions. As he passed, he said “I like your face.”
And kept walking.
I burst out laughing. I’m sure the sentiment came from one of the random notes we had posted on the lockers days before, and it totally stopped my inward arguing in its tracks. That little bit of humor changed the direction of my thoughts as I realized I like so many of the people I work with, most days I like what I do even if I don’t see the results I want to see. We are all on the same team. And I CAN be a safe place for these students.
Humor is like that.
It’s a kindness.
A healing gift.
It changes things up.
Sometimes we don’t need a deep, inspirational message. We just need a good, from-the-belly laugh to change the course of our day.
Laughter is powerful stuff, it is a glue that holds marriages, families, friendships, and yes, even work relationships together.
So yeah, the encouraging notes were important, meaningful, significant. As were the sweet ones; the motivational ones too.
But the funny ones? They had a power all their own.
If you know someone going through a tough time, (and aren’t we all right now?) and don’t know what to do to help here’s a thought: don’t make light of their load but maybe, just maybe you could lighten the load with some humor. The Scriptures, as always, say it best:
A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22 NAS
I’m ever so grateful for the “funny ones” in my life.
I originally made these cards for grandbabies and daughters, but now I’m thinking of maybe leaving them in random places to bring some smiles and lighten some loads:
In case no one has told YOU today…I like your face 🙂
[For those who are unaware, our lives got a little crazy six months ago when my daughter, son-in-love, and 3 grandchildren (ages 3, 2, and 1!) moved in with us. In the midst of the beautiful chaos, writing just didn’t happen. They moved out a little over a week ago and I’m getting the fingers back on the keyboard. Got a number of posts in the works, but still feeling a bit rusty!)
Grateful for this wonderful life,
Marie with a 🙂