Chris recently found a little pocket journal I kept when I was in 7th grade. Holding some of my early-teen immaturities, this small diary also reminded me about the ways in which someone gave me a start. Offered me an opportunity. Invested in me. Showed light on the future.
That year I played left defensive end on our parish school’s touch football team, started pipe organ lessons, entered confirmation classes, served as an acolyte, sang in the school choir and took several awe-inspiring vacations in California’s mountains. These and other formative experiences eventually blossomed into who I am today. (Providentially for my skinny torso, the football player thing didn’t work out…)
This retrospective got me thinking about the places and ways in which many of us have been fortunate to give someone else a leg up on part of their life’s path. (Or a restart, when other trails weren’t panning out.)
This “giving someone else a start” may have been a lifestyle mantra for most of our lives. As parents, teachers, correspondents, colleagues, friends, mentors or bosses, we’ve had the privilege of investing in children, youth and adults who might benefit from our extra nudges towards starts or restarts: Deeply personal conversations, leadership opportunities, shared planning, participation in special programs, writing assignments, referrals for employment, job coaching, etc. What a joy that’s been for us!
I don’t know what eventually happened in my case, but I have the sense that this stewardship of the future has turned out well. Some of the nudges have come back my way, offering hints of how the Spirit’s centuries-old investments have continued. Like you, I’ve passed on what was given to me, and I’m pleased when I see the former starting ones have done the same thing.
That they’ve become starters….
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