They call me Mr. H.
I'm a volunteer in my youngest's class. Their teacher, the amazing Mrs. B, is a kindergarten whisperer. I am sure of it. She posses super powers of instruction and order. Kindergarteners can not resist. Enamored as if spell bound. I can see why. She loves them. It shows.
Her own hyphenated surname demanded succinctness for the precious one’s continually calling it. She became Mrs. B. Over the weeks she has gently, with continual modeling, changed my moniker from “John Mark’s Dad” to “Mr. H.” And so I am.
Yesterday morning I was about my normal volunteer routine. Writing stories for 15 minutes each with three boys. Improvement is evident. Their language skills. Their vocabulary. Their penmanship. I am blessed to observe these changes for just a few minutes each week with each young man. These encounters go something like this.
Little guy comes to my volunteer table. I stand, yet stoop, to give a man-worthy greeting. A fist bump. A high five. A hand shake. We settle into our stubby chairs. I ask him to read me the last story he wrote while assessing if I can decipher his words as he reads to me. Then we engage in Q&A to find a story we might write together. Once the topic is settled, we begin writing one “turtle talk” sounded out letter at a time. In 15 minutes we have recorded a real life story from their own unique kindergarten boy perspective. It’s delightful.
And then: Lunch. I go too. And then: Recess! I play too. Tag and soccer and anything the kids wanna play. I make a daddyfied fool of myself. It is delightful. Really.
Hearing, “Goodbye Mr. H,” ring out from little friend’s voices I felt thoroughly satisfied with life. So fortunate. I love my wife. I love my kids. I love my church. I love my town. And what have I done to merit such grace? I am so thoroughly blessed.
A text, “Have you seen the news?” News app openned. Delight shattered. Sandy Hook Elementary. Newtown, Connecticut. Visceral response. Heart pounding. Mind racing. Face flushing. Spirit bursting. Eyes welling. Guilt crashing.
I was just in a kindergarten class. My son’s class. And then.
This. Monstrous. Unthinkable. This. Across the country yet so close to home.
Details I do not want to know. Grief I can not imagine. Lives forever changed. And a question to which no answer will ever be enough: Why?
Our world contains wickedness. Our minds are capable of atrocities. Our hearts betray evil.
Yet this same world contains love. Minds to create solutions. Hearts breaking with compassion.
Come together, My Friends. Grief. Mourn. Wail. Pray. Comfort. Love.
Love others. Love them beyond what is natural. Love them as Christ giving himself. Love them to delight. Love them. And make a difference. To everyone you meet.
They call me Mr. H.
H is for heartbroken.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5