Be the Voice of Change

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Musings on the International Day of Peace and the first weeks of school:

Here I am teaching in-person for the first time in a year and a half. It seems funny to even use the words “in-person”; I mean, how else do you teach?

But now many of us understand words Ike virtual learning, zoom calls, and home office from firsthand experience. This past year and half we learned the value of hunkering down and staying home to “be safe” and the sheer joy of being able to gather together with friends and family. We found peace and made peace and offered peace where none was given.

We saw conflict, felt tension, and recoiled from verbal combat every time we opened a social media app.

But just like teaching, living in peace with one another is less about relaying information or our point of view and more about building relationships. It’s less about building fences and more about building bridges.

So with these thoughts in mind, I taught the students the song “With Just One Small Voice” this week, and we talked about what it means to use your voice together with others to speak out for or against something. I asked the students what things they would speak out about if given the chance.

A fifth grader said he would speak out against homelessness, another said they would raise awareness about hunger, a third grader said she would want to use her voice to encourage others to clean up the environment, and a second grader raised her hand and shared her heart for the plight of Haitian immigrants so passionately and articulately, I thought I had been transported to middle school.

These are the future peacemakers and bridge builders of our world. These are the thinkers and change makers.

And I get to work with them every day.

I will bind myself willingly to this kind of work–to peacemaking and restoration and love because I believe this is what will ultimately change the world. Respect, cooperation, listening with empathy, being willing to change your mind: these are the heart of hope for our future.

And so with this fullness of hope in my heart, I pray that peace finds its way to you wherever you are and in whatever you do.

We are what the world is becoming, so with one small but collective voice let’s sing so our voice is heard.

#bethechange #peacemakersunite #tryalittlekindnessinstead

When Worlds Collide

Coffee in a styrofoam cup—not my favorite, but I am happy we are able to enjoy our coffee together.

What a day!

At 7 am the nurse (under doctor orders) ripped Tracy off her pain pump without making sure her pain was managed.

I probably don’t need to tell you how awful the day was. We spent most of it trying to get back on top of the pain. Trace was crying and her pain all day was largely unmanageable. It was dreadful.

Friends, even I had a hard time.

More than once the tears spilled over in my eyes out of sheer helplessness. At one point, I realized I wasn’t helpless; I had power to help her because I still had my voice.

And one voice has power.

I teach my students this at school, and I believe it to be true. You have a voice, use it wisely. So I made a choice to use my voice and made some phone calls to her surgeon; I also reached out to the hospital case manager.

Once I started reaching out, I found many folks with empathy. The pain management doc isn’t usually at this hospital on Wednesdays, but when he heard what was going on, he came all the way from his Novi clinic after a full work day, just to see Tracy. He reordered the pain pump—administered and weaned differently—and she found some relief.

We finally (both of us) (mostly) slept.

She is up, asked for coffee and her phone and is looking at a breakfast menu. First time she’s wanted to do any of that.

Thank you God for answered prayer and (finally) a pain pump returned!

When Worlds Collide

When worlds collide,
life changes in a way
that is never quite
the same again.

Our path lies
where we choose to
walk (or fly)—not
the beaten path

and maybe not
even the road less
travelled, but where we
establish our rest.

We choose life
near the cool waters
feasting on simple rhythms—
sunrise and sunset,

morning and evening.
One giant living hum—
peace amidst the chaos—
in the middle

of every thing.
We sing our stories
rejoicing in each moment
when worlds collide.

—a draft by Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan