Unexpected blessings are some of the most delightful things about being alive. One such blessing dramatically brightened my life at the beginning of this school year when I began driving Kay to school. Prior to our acquaintance she had been receiving her academic tutelage from a neighbor; however, having reached 7th grade, her father deemed it best that she enter a more traditional school setting. His preference was the school where I teach, but his work hours prevented him from taking her there. I offered to be her driver and so developed a most charming dimension to my life.
Kay is a petite bundle of exuberant life. I usually pick her up between 6:30 and 6:45 every morning, but if the traffic is bad, I sometimes have to pick her up as early as 5:30. Never have I arrived to anything but a bright smile and friendly wave as I pull into the parking lot. She is always heavily laden with her bookbag, lunchbox, water bottle, and the binders that don’t fit into her bookbag, but there are still times when she’s managed to add to the mix an edible treat for me.
As I drive, she resets the clock that usually decides to lag behind overnight. We sing to her Taylor Swift CD or else we listen to AirOne and then she downloads my favorite songs onto my Iphone. Functioning as my copilot, she opens up my drink or holds my breakfast so I can eat at the traffic lights. Serving as my secretary, she takes my phone calls or sends text messages at my dictation. We find things to keep the commute fresh each morning, such as guessing the exact time we’ll pull into our stall at school or deciding which route will be the fastest by avoiding the most traffic. We usually listen to the 7:00 news and discuss the current events and the impact they have on us. I marvel at how her thought process has matured over the past 8 months. Kay genuinely listens and quickly learns.
Initially, our conversation maintained the expected surface politeness. We talked about fashion, weather, school projects, and social interactions. But as days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months, our conversation has evolved into much more. The topics we muse upon are nearly familial: how to cultivate deeper relationships within our own families; how to better encourage friends at school; the proper conduct a young lady should have when interacting with young men; living our conviction that Jesus is realer; the dangers of gossip and cheating; plans for the future; marriage; and so much more. Never have I realized how deeply conversation matters to a developing mind.
Driving Miss Kay has extended my world. I now know the intricacies of braces, the excitement of baseball, the inside scoop on how my students are responding to my assignments, the complexities of the social circles that my students rotate through, the fascination of Instagram, the fads of moustaches and the name Bob, the simple entertainment that can come from a new water bottle or a recycled knock-knock joke, and the popularity of hot Cheetos. But most of all, I have learned that nothing quite compares to opening your heart to another opportunity to love someone.
Kay is a daily reminder to me that I impact other people. My every action performed or word emitted in her presence is being duly noted. I can either model a sincere commitment to Christ or a fake one. My choice will forever shape her opinion of what it means to live for Jesus. I hope and pray that whenever Miss Kay reflects back upon her 7th grade year she will fondly remember driving with Miss T and know that there will always be someone willing to sing Taylor Swift with her. Most of all, I hope that she will know that I will always be happy to be her driver again.