Wednesday my youngest son's school brought all the 1st grade classes on a field trip.
I, in my typical want to compensate for the lack of school volunteering, went as a parent helper. I, of course, had that one kid. The kid who doesn't heed instructions or redirection unless he thinks it is his own idea. But it worked out all right.
As we were walking to our various stations, we'd pass kids from the other groups. One of these classmates had a visible simplicity of mind and a difference in his gait. He also had his own adult providing individual care to him. Whether she was his mother or para wasn't clear to me..
We made eye contact, me and this precious soul.
And in a too-loud voice, timbre deeper than most 8th grade boys, he called out, to anyone who would hear, "Hi! Hi!" holding his hand up in a static wave so as to let everyone know the source of this raucous greeting.
"Hi," I said brightly, smiling as I held my group at bay for the moment.
"Wha's yer name?" he asked with an odd cadence, putting the emphasis on "yer."
I caught the microgesture of his adult helper, the ducking of the head and tug on his hand making both the unspoken plea to "quit bothering this poor lady," and apology to me.
But I wanted to let him know, he's not a bother.
And, knowing my own daughter's "twice exceptional" status with tendencies toward the autism spectrum and a giftedness that makes her very book smart, often left her struggling to engage in exploratory social interactions, not to mention the awareness of just how often this little guy probably got ignored, I responded.
"My name is Heather," I answered with a smile as my hand echoed his own still gesture.
"Oh! Hi!" he said with a megawatt beam of a smile as his helper smiled back faintly, urging him on.
Later in the day, I took my group for a bathroom break, when my toothy grinned, auburn locked new friend passed by once more.
"Hi! Wha's yer...." he began, and I recognized her embarrassment again.
"Wait, yer Heather, right?"
I nodded, smiling broadly as the pride of his remembering rippled across his face. His adult helper relaxed, some.
"You remembered," I said, initiating a celebratory fist bump with him, putting his aide at ease and pushing this happy-smiled angel over into a dreamy bliss.
"Yes, Heather....yer My Heather."
It takes virtually no effort to change someone's day, and often the reward profoundly impacts you.
I can't get that sweet boy out of my head.
I wish that we were all so pure of heart that joy would be so easily grasped. Instead, we cover our joys with worry, envy, conceit, etc.
Lord, give me a simple mind and a joyful heart. Help me see the significance of the seemingly insignificant actions and their impacts always. Help me to encourage those around me.
"Purer in heart, O God, help me to be;
Teach me to do Thy will most lovingly;
Be Thou my Friend and Guide,
Let me with Thee abide;
Purer in heart, help me to be."