While reading a blogging friend's blog, I was reminded of a story.
I have told this story several times before (at life groups, during deep conversations, etc) not to be repetitive... but because I feel that it is a story worth sharing. If you are a local friend, you have probably already heard it. If that's the case, I opologize.
The first 2 years of Sarah Jane's life I was able to stay home with her... when she turned 2, I decided that she needed to be around other children, so I put her in a morning program at a local church 3 days a week from 9-1. While she was there, I worked for a non-profit organization here in town called Girls Inc.
Girls Inc. is an after school program for girls that teaches them to be strong, smart, and bold... and in a culture that objectifies women and places all kinds of things out of their reach, I love what this place stands for. I started out working in the office, doing behind the scenes kinds of things and eventually ended up doing but only that, but also coaching a dance team.
When I started with my dancers, I wasn't really sure how I was going to like it. But, it didn't take long at all to fall completely in love with these girls.
While Girls Incorporated is available to all girls, here in Albany it tends to lean towards girls that aren't exactly blessed with the most fortunate of circumstances.
Our dance team practiced on Tuesdays and Thursdays for performances at special Girls Inc. functions and at the local Boys club weekly basketball games. It really gave the girls something to look forward to ---especially since my girls weren't your "typical" dance line material. It was amazing to me to watch these girls bond and really open themselves up to each other.
One particular day I was running late (what else is new?). All the girls were waiting for me. After they all greeted me with their big welcome hugs and we got outside to practice, I was running my mouth 90 miles a minutes going through all of my opologies and excuses as to why I was late... and while I was runnng through all of my aforementioned excuses about having to go here and there and doing this and that, I mentioned that I also left the music at my house on the table and that we were going to have to just sing it. They were great about it, and started to line up... but there was one sweet little 7 yr. old girl that really put things into perspective for me. She was the youngest one on our dance team... I was flustered and anxious and complaining, really wishing that I could have just stayed at home... and she looked up at me and said, "Miss Jay, you live in a house?" --- wow.
She lived in the projects and shared a room with her 3 siblings. Her mom never comes home and her dad is nowhere in the picture. On top of that she has a bladder problem from all of the abuse she has endured... and I was complaining. She was so happy to see me, and so mesmerized by the fact that I lived in a house that she hadn't heard anything else that I had said. Everything inside of me wished that I could just take her home with me, her family probably wouldn't even know she was gone --- but, I just hugged her and tried to hide the tears.
I left Girls Inc. to pursue another passion and work for a local photographer full time. Although I don't "work" at Girls Inc. anymore... that one day I got more experience than any other job I have ever had or ever will have.
That day is a picture in my head that never goes away. I rarely turn into our driveway without hearing her little voice.