sometimes Jesus wears tie-dye

I just survived another field trip. With 72 second graders. To a swimming pool. And I rode the bus with them. This is where I’d like to envision all of you, my wonderful readers, giving me a standing ovation. Not because I went on this trip, but because I went on this trip after  taking a ten-hour journey, two weeks ago with 50 kindergarteners…to a zoo.

Thanks for your applause!

Today’s trip was relatively easy, I’m still not sure how that could even be possible. No major injuries, no lost children. Although there was one boy who lost his swim trunks in the middle of the pool… The kids had a great time, even if the weather was barely warm enough (55°F and cloudy!). Everyone ate a big lunch after swimming for a few hours and boarded the buses to return to the school.

I was lucky enough to sit in back of the bus with some of the still incredibly energetic kiddos. I had a row all to myself and a backpack, and across from me sat my son Creed and one of his good friends. About two minutes into the return trip, Creed’s buddy started looking ill. He said his side was hurting and his facial expressions were proof he was in pain. I felt bad for the little guy, and told him he’d be okay. I reminded him it was a short trip and asked if I could help him, but he wasn’t sure what he needed. He just hurt!

I glanced out my window for a moment, trying to see where we were to know how much longer he’d have to ride in misery. About 12 minutes, if traffic wasn’t bad. As I turned back to check on him, I saw a sight I will never forget. Mr. Creed, sitting next to the window in his home-made, tie-dyed shirt reached over, put his arm around his friend and assured him he’d be okay. And as his friend held onto his side, trying to feel better, Creed pulled him closer and helped him rest his head on his shoulder. To see an act like this isn’t the most uncommon, kids still care. But to see an eight-year-old boy care for his friend is still a wonderful sight.

As I looked at Creed’s face, to smile and assure him he was being a great friend, my heart melted. I’m not usually an emotional person. I’m not sure that it’s a disconnect from my emotions, but I do know I tend to temper my reactions. Some people might even think I’m  heartless (especially if they knew that I’ve never cried at a movie, ever).  But when I looked at Creed, I choked up immediately. His little blue eyes were so full of compassion, beyond that of which I’ve hardly ever witnessed. He looked as though he was physically feeling his friends pain. His expression was anguished, as he looked like he felt helpless in helping. But he was doing so much! Giving comfort to someone who needed it, holding them up when they couldn’t take care of themselves. My first thought was that I could see Jesus in his actions. He was being selfless, and loving, so full of compassion.

Everyone at the school office knows Creed, and praises him for helping take care of friends. He is the kid who has spent multiple recesses with various children, in the nurses office with them while they’re bandaged. He was even given an award at a school assembly for caring earlier this year. Today made me think of a message our pastor was talking about last week on how we are all made to reproduce. Not only by having kids, but by sharing our gifts. That if we have specific talents, we need to encourage those gifts in others. That way, when our time is up on this earth, our gifts don’t die off with us. If we are good at giving, we can help others to give. If we are good at loving the unlovely, we should help others to see beauty in the outcasts. If we’re good at pulling weeds, someone else needs to learn to do that, too!

I see such a gift in my son for caring, a gift we can all learn from. Oh, to have his compassion! My hope is that more of these moments can happen and he can share his gift often. The world needs people like him, people who can see hurts and needs and help without thinking of their own discomfort. People who love without expecting anything in return. People who wear tie-dye.

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