Tuesday, May 25, 2010

"Kids Are The Best Teacher" by Ruth Lowe

(Our guest blogger is Ruth Lowe. Ruth is Tony's daughter and a recent graduate of Guilford College)

On a sunny May afternoon, 6 year-old Emma Pierce-Coleman and I went for a walk down to the field behind her house, and like always, Emma ended up wading in the creek. I’m sure it didn’t occur to her that with both of our big moves coming up that this was our last chance to spend time together in The Field, like we had so many times before, but I was painfully aware of it. During one of the darkest and most depressing times in my life thus far, spending time with kids and dogs in a sunny field beside a creek really kept me going.

On this particular afternoon, Emma was in the creek “helping” a stick float down the slow moving creek. She walked down the length of the creek, water up to her knees, navigating the stick through the water. As is our custom, I walked along the bank of the creek. Every few feet Emma would call out to me. “Are you still there?” Sometimes it was hard to see me through the thick foliage on the bank. “Yes, I’m right here!” Occasionally I would lose sight of her too. “Emma, are you there? Is everything ok?” Yelling through the bushes she would report to me the progress of her stick and her journey. “There’s some big rocks coming up ahead.” She’s come a long way since last summer, a mere 5 year-old, hadn’t even been to kindergarten, she followed her older sister down the creek and got stuck on a rock. I’d gone sloshing into the creek after her and scooped the crying Emma off of the rock and carried her to shore. Not now though. She’s navigating it by herself pretty well. My role is pretty much just to walk beside her and reassure her. “I just fell in but I can
change clothes when I get home,” her little voice reports after the sound of a big splash. I just laugh. This isn’t anything new. “Yup, that’s right.”

From outside of the creek, I have a better perspective. I can tell where Emma is in relation to the land and how close she is to the edge of the field where the creek bends, and she always gets out. “Am I at the end yet?” She calls. “No, about half way there, keep going!” I encourage her. “Ok, keep walking with me!” her little voice comes bursting through the mulberry bushes.

What Emma wanted from me is what we all want from our spiritual communities and from the Divine. I don’t always understand Emma’s task (why can’t she just let the stick float by itself?) but I support her because it’s important to her. She tells me of the challenges that are facing her (There’s a lot of rocks up ahead, it’s really deep right here!) and I encourage her and reassure her until she makes it through the rough patches. From outside of the creek I give her a bigger perspective on where she is on her journey. And when she’s completed her task and the stick has made it to the bend in the creek, we hold hands and run home together through the field.

1 comment:

Deborah Suess said...

Ruth - this is beautiful. and i can just hear emma's voice come through! So glad to hear of your upcoming call/job. blessings, deborah