A “Beautiful Beginning”—-of a Friendship

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday morning, 2 March 2017)

Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of a loving God.

As I walked into my assigned pre-k classroom of Beautiful Beginnings Child Care Center for my Christian Service second quarter, I had no idea what I was going to experience. I went in with an open mind and heart, hoping to connect with eighteen students. I thought that I could serve them and leave a lasting impression, when in reality these students served me. The seven weeks I spent at Beautiful Beginnings were spent forming incredible bonds. And I hate to admit it, but I definitely had a few favorites in class who naturally connected with me. But, I felt through the passing weeks that I had a strong connection with every child in the classroom.. Except for one.

A young girl named Margareth didn’t warm up to me as the other children did. She never approached me or wanted my attention as her classmates did. Each time I attempted to make conversation, she stared blankly at me. Through the weeks I felt it was my responsibility to spend at least some time with her. This particular Wednesday, I noticed her on the reading rug with two other classmates. I sat with them and began to read a story. I quickly noticed that two girls were completely engaged, while Margareth sat expressionless. I turned to her after reading and asked if there was any book that she would like to read. Shyly, she handed a picture book over to me and requested, “leelo por favor,” or “read this, please” in Spanish. My heart nearly stopped. Throughout the past weeks, I wrongly judged Margareth and thought her to be unfriendly and shy compared to my other welcoming students. I was wrong, Margareth simply came from a Spanish-speaking family and this was her first year in a classroom being exposed to English. I, a Spanish student and speaker, saw this as a perfect learning opportunity. I immediately began interpreting the story in Spanish for her. She smiled brightly as she told me all about the animals and colors she saw in the picture book. She told me that she loved it, and I could tell she was thrilled that I could understand and communicate with her. I learned in that moment that Margareth is a loving and beautiful child, similar to every student in that classroom. She is charismatic, funny, quirky, and smart. Her communication was different from the others, but she no longer had a language barrier from me. My connection to her taught me to always seek the least of God’s people, and to never judge anyone without knowing their heart. I had the privilege of knowing an adorable student, and enjoyed her teaching me a thing or two about Spanish.

It was from this particular encounter that I felt God’s presence on Christian service. Margareth’s bright personality made my service experience extraordinary. Immediately after reading our story in Spanish, she never left my side. I played with her, gave her instructions, and even challenged her with some words in English. My faith taught me in this encounter to love God and love my neighbor. My connection to Margareth helped me practice my faith and a language that I love. I am deeply thankful for the students I worked with at Beautiful Beginnings, their graceful ability to love me while hardly knowing me, and the memories that we shared together.

Let us Pray:

Lord, help us to love one another as You love us. Help us to see those who are different from us as brothers and sisters, and to use our gifts to make the world a better place. During this season of Lent, help us to change our hearts and see your light in the world in all we do. Amen.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for Us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…Forever.

Rebecca Hobin–Class of 2017