Every Tuesday afternoon, I get to spend 45 minutes teaching these precious little ones. Plus 4 more who have joined our special needs ballet class since this picture was taken. Forty-five minutes of joy, craziness, dancing, and love. The best 45 minutes of my week.
I am their "teacher," but I find myself learning more important lessons from them than they can possibly learn from me. I teach them that ballet is in French, and how to do plies, and that ballerinas always point their toes, but they teach me things far more important.
We have a sweet little girl, C, in our class, who loves to dance and is a chatterbox. She has been taking since I started teaching this class in the fall. I often have to remind her to zip her lips so that the other children can hear me talk.
We also have a newer friend, M, in our class, who joined us a couple of months ago. She is nonverbal, and older, and taller than the other girls. Because of her deficits, I'm not sure exactly how much she understands about what is going on. She is naturally a loner, so it takes some effort to get her to join the class and participate in what we are doing. A lot of the girls gravitate towards each other, and talk to each other, but M hasn't really done that with anyone, or shown any kind of desire to "hang around" any of the other students.
Last week, I put the girls in pairs to do a step across the floor. They have to hold hands, facing each other, and chasse across the floor. I was naming off partners, and said that C and M would be going together. As soon as the words came out of my mouth, C threw her hands up in the air and yelled excitedly, "Yes! I get to go with M! I get to go with M!"
I was speechless.
In that excitement about who her partner was, this little one taught me about looking at someone else through eyes of love, and really, like Jesus does. She did not care that this child had never spoken a word to her. She did not care that this child had never smiled at her, or wanted to stand beside her during class. I even glanced over a little later, and M was resistant to holding hands with C. But C was patiently standing there, encouraging her to hold hands so that they could dance together. With no expectation of anything in return, sweet little C threw up her hands in excitement and exclaimed how excited she was that she got to be M's partner.
What a beautiful picture of how Jesus looks at us. Regardless of our actions, or our behaviors, he DESIRES to be with us. It doesn't matter what we've done, or haven't done. That has all been covered by His precious blood. He loves us, and wants to hold our hands. Even when we will surely fail and fall again.
I want to look at people like C looks at M, and at everyone. Her sweet eyes are blinded to disabilities and deficits. And don't we all have disabilities and deficits? She looks with eyes of love. She sees a beautiful, worthwhile, valuable person of infinite worth. That's what I want to see with every pair of eyes I look into.
And they call me the teacher.