I’ll Take Their Happiness Over My Comfort

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Last Wednesday felt like such a long day. By the time I arrived at site, I was pretty tired and wishing that I could lay down for a nap, instead of working with the kids. Nonetheless, I started helping one of our first grade girls with her homework. She seemed a little upset and wasn’t really enjoying her time there like she normally would. I asked her if everything was ok. She told me that everything wasn’t okay; at school, she had been yelled at over and over for things that she didn’t do, and she had had a really tough day. I told her that it was okay to feel upset and apologized on behalf of those who made her day less than ok. She continued doing her homework, a bit more relaxed and to my surprise the rest of the day was just fun for her. She stayed pretty close to me and was able to enjoy the rest of the afternoon.

Later that afternoon, I started working with a new boy who just joined our program and who I hadn’t met yet. I introduced myself to him and made it known that we get things done here at Chapel Hill. He started working on his homework, and I realized that he really needed help and attention on one subject. As tired as I was, I did the best I could to help him. We really got to connect while doing his homework, and he really enjoyed the attention. The best part was that I could tell he genuinely enjoyed it. For the first time in the program, I felt that connection; it’s like he was telling me with his eyes, “Thank you so much! I’ve been needing this help and attention for so long and now you’re here. You understand me.”

My tiredness was nothing compared to the joy in these kids, and I’ll take their happiness over my comfort any day.

Jonathan Cortina
Chapel Hill UMC

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