My job is all about providing learning experiences for others – I put people in uncomfortable positions in order to grow. I also just widen their eyes to the world. I challenge their understanding of God.
I decided that Joslyn is my DOOR experience. I have been spending a growing amount of time with my 3 year old niece, and while I am more and more seeing her patterns and her uniqueness – I also am required to put my life in check when she is around – just like DOOR participants are asked to do.
When I worked directly with groups, I could often be heard saying “Take all the time you need” and at the same time “Be flexible, sometimes the trains are packed sometimes the train is running late – we will go on living.” It is amazing to me that I can be comfortable with the CTA running late and not with Joslyn just needing more time of mine. Just one more push on the swing, one more reading of her favorite Eric Carle book, one more hug, just 5 minutes more nap before she is going to move. She is the one who beckons to me “Be flexible and it is important to take all the time you need.” She is worth it; and her smile can get me through – like I hope my comfortableness with trains and buses transferred to DOOR participants.
DOOR jars people – often we hear “you scheduled to much free time” but folks don’t realize until the end of the week that we need that down time in order to allow for processing and reflection. Joslyn has shown me – basically every time the two of us are together – that I need to slow down. Joslyn and I have spent weekdays together that I try to still work and care for her. There was the trip to Ikea that I don’t have fond memories of because I wasn’t on Joslyn time, I was on Krista adult working time. The more time I spend with Joslyn the more I enjoy taking a step down from busy to Joslyn time. Taking the time to see the world through a 3 year old is worth a million minutes. DOOR participants sometimes ask to be so busy that they can rush in and out of the city – seeing only what they want to see rather than taking the time to see the city through urban people’s eyes. Joslyn has taught me the importance of taking the time to do that.
At its best, DOOR not only serves as a learning experience, but a changing experience. Hopefully, each week people really do “See the face of God in the City.” And even more hopefully, interacting with God in the city changes how one understands faith and God. When participants meet the person that they won’t forget, or see a ministry that profoundly moves them, or when a Thursday night reflection becomes a faith milestone – they have met God anew. I meet God in Joslyn. She tells me “how cool” when she sees an animal at the zoo that excites her, I see God’s care of creation In her excitement to see me, I see God’s love. In the shaking laughing child when she sees her mom and dad, I can understand the joy of God. In her budding patience and politeness, I see God’s heart. Just like many DOOR participants, my faith has been changed.
May the work of DOOR continue to be educational and life changing just as much as spending time with Joslyn has educated and changed me.