Then I heard the voice of The Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? Who will go?”
And I said, “Here I am. Send Me!” ~ Isaiah 6:8
As an educator, I’m all about building connections. I want to create relationships with my students, so they know I’m more than a teacher in a classroom that they have been assigned to. I want them to know that I care for them as individuals, beyond the classroom walls. Beyond the last days of the school year. I am in their corner. I have their backs.
As a teacher, I’m also about helping to build connections with the world around us. I want to help students understand their historical lineage; their ability to influence their local neighborhood; and their voice in a global community.
But there are greater, more significant connections that need to be forged. There are wider chasms and deeper gaps that need to be bridged.
Children need to be connected to their personal, intrinsic value; that they are infinitely important, simply because they exist. They need to be shown that they have a sacred part in the ongoing life story unfolding around them, and that their role is beautiful and unique. They need to know that they matter.
If we’re being honest, those gaps exist in the hearts of us adults also. On a cognizant level we might be aware that we carry some measure of importance, but we want that to resonate in our hearts as well. We want to know that our verse in life’s poem, however short that verse may be, is crucial to the rhythm and meter of history’s prose. We need reassurance that we are not afterthoughts taking up space. We need to know that someone’s life is better because we have crossed their path. Regardless of our age, we need to know that we matter.
Without these connections, there are glaring gaps, vast expanses between the people we are, and the people we were created to be.
Though I have never heard the audible voice of God, at least not yet, I have felt his undeniable tug at my heart. Many times. He prods. He nudges. He reminds. He gently whispers.
And sometimes, he shouts.
Many of these messages are to remind me of my connection to him. That I am fearfully and wonderfully made. That I am a son of The King of Kings, and The Lord of Lords. That I am part of a royal priesthood. A holy nation. That I matter.
But he also nudges me to bridge the gap and build his connection to others. He reminds me to show kindness to the student who seems isolated from her peers. He nudges me to put aside my pressing list of tasks so I can go help an overwhelmed colleague. He prompts me vocalize appreciation for my principal’s leadership, knowing that he hears more than his share of complaints and negativity. He pushes me to walk in the shoes of my student’s parents, and give them the respect and empathy that all parents deserve.
It seems that most of His promptings have a common theme. There is a simple message that He seems bent on advancing. He whispers for me to help people find their own unique voice. He calls for me to help people identify their own sacred talents and gifts. He asks me to stand in the gap, showing others how to use their voice and talents to both internally realize, and externally communicate his message.
That we matter.
This is how I follow Him. This is how I try to step forward and say YES when he calls. This is how I choose to lay myself down and bridge the gap.