Gathering Graces 9/26/2017

*In the evening when Paul, Zoe, Molly, Travis, Cosette and myself all share our stories about how our day has gone, there has been a few great stories Zoe has shared about students.  Zoe is a para-professional at Meridian Middle School, and she works with students in special education.  Last week she shared two or three heart warming stories about how kind and accepting some of the general education students were to the students she works with, and it really touched her heart.  And she could tell what an effect it had on her students.  It is amazing how one act of kindness can turn a persons day around, or even their week!!
*Along these same lines, my friend Kenzie Sherman Lewis shared this story on her Facebook page today, and I would like to share it with you.  Kenzie is a teacher at Post Falls High School.  Post Falls is a town about 50 miles west of Kellogg.   Period 1: They'd earned the ability to choose where they sit and inevitably this means someone being left out. By this time, the goal is to know my kids well enough to predict where this could happen and plan accordingly. This time I missed it. Sitting front row, alone in a group of three desks, he sat... Alone. No, a chair doesn't define your worth, but when you're a freshman (or even a senior)... (or even a grown woman with two kids) being alone can hurt. I secretly scrambled to set the arrangement and find an excuse to need to move someone to the front, someone who can make him feel like he's worth sitting next to. I didn't have to figure it out. She had moved with intention to a section of three, so excited to sit next to her best friends...but when she noticed him alone in the front row, she stepped up. I saw it in her eyes. When people are kind, you can see it in their eyes. While her peers celebrated their newfound classroom positions, she made her way to my desk and whispered, "Mrs.Lewis, is it ok if I move to the front so he doesn't have to be alone?"
That's all it took. That's all it takes. One act of kindness. Lives were redirected that day. I was the only one who saw his face relax and a simple smirk sneak onto the corner of his lips. She noticed the tears in my eyes and smiled, she felt it too. Her best friends didn't even question her when she said, "I can't see back here, I'm moving to the front." They knew. When you live your life being kind and noticing when people need you to step up, the impact is not always recognized, but it is felt. There is good out there. I can't be the only one who forgets.
*My friend Betty shared a story with me about her daughter Jessica cleaning Mom’s house the other day.  In each and every room Jessica cleaned, she found a penny.  This made her feel as if my mom was near to her, and she was comforted being in Mom’s house.  Believe what you will, but I am glad Jessica felt comforted.  If you look it up, this is a rather common phenomenon, finding coins after a person dies.  The sweet and loving spirit of Jessica combined with the sweet and loving spirit of Mom while Jessica was in her house that day.  I loved hearing this story.
*I had a wonderful encounter at Kellogg High School today, when I came across longtime family friend Kellie Lavigne.  She was in the library at the school, and I took some time to go over and visit.  Our fathers grew up together in Kellogg, and our parents were very good friends.  Growing up we would have Thanksgiving dinner at their house in Kellogg, and often would go to Rose Lake to their lake cabin on the Fourth of July.  Kellie and I talked about the process of grieving the loss of our parents.  Her father passed away a few years ago, and her mother now lives with her brother in Nevada.  She shared some funny stories about her mom, and it was a great thing to connect with her today.  Thanks for the wonderful visit, Kellie.  I needed that today.
*Today I stopped by Mom’s house to grab a few more items.  And all of a sudden a realization hit me.  Today is the last day of this being “Mom’s house”.  Tomorrow there will be new occupants.  My brother and sister-in-law arrive tomorrow to move in.  Then it will become Bill and Debbie’s house.  I walked around the “Mom’s house” one last time and wept.  I weep because I miss Mom.  I weep because this house was such a part of Mom and who she was, from the flowers in her yard to the copper on the walls, and the angels on her shelves, Mom’s personality shone through in this house.  I weep because, even though the home of my childhood physically will still be here, it will change.  And it is another loss.  And even though Mom’s spirit will always reside in this house, tomorrow, things will be different.  The name will change.  The occupants will change.  The look will change.  Because, obviously, with death comes change.

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