Friday, February 28, 2014

It's Not *What* You Do...

Each morning on our way to school, I watch the crossing guards ensure our children cross the busy roads safely. They blow their whistles and flash their stop signs and gesture with determination to the hundreds of cars that drive through the intersection daily. If a car comes through the intersection too fast, they wave their arms and deliver a stink eye powerful enough to make grown men feel like children caught.

One crossing guard, a spry old woman as feisty as she is wrinkled, takes her job even further: she stands on the corner where the kids gather on the sidewalk and greets each one as warmly as she would a grandchild.

With the younger kids, she bends her knees and crouches to eye level, smiling large into faces that radiate joy at being seen, recognized. I watch them hug her and share enthusiastic stories, looking straight into her eyes.

With the older boys, she exchanges high fives, fist bumps, and all manner of handshakes. There is no sense of stand-offishness, no dismissive eye roll from these boys wrestling independence and identity. The pull of adolescent cool cannot deny the sincerity of her interest in their lives.

By all definitions, the job of crossing guard is not a glamorous one. Important, yes. Esteemed, no.

But this woman has elevated her position to something holy, sacred. Her presence has transformed the concrete sidewalk to a sanctuary where, for a moment, children are cherished just for showing up. She has not for a second believed that her job is insignificant. Rather, she has filled it with meaning and purpose through love.

The what of our days is so much less important than the how. Whether we operate in finance or construction, retail or medicine, engineering or housework, our day-to-day tasks are transformed by our perspective and intention.

When we believe our work matters to the folks around us, when we believe the people we serve or toil alongside are fellow children of God, then no task is insignificant. And we can no longer believe we are insignificant.

For we have the power to transform street corners to sanctuaries.


  1. I was just thinking about this earlier this morning as I drove past our own crossing guards. Such genuine, caring people - I see them greet each child and parent as dear friends morning and afternoon.

    "She has not for a second believed that her job is insignificant. Rather, she has filled it with meaning and purpose through love." Wonderful words, my friend - thanks again for sharing!

  2. Thanks, Sara, for your comment! I am learning to recognize and appreciate, more and more, the folks around us who do their jobs not out of duty or resignation but with that sense of sacred service. Grateful to hear kiddos are in such kind hands in your neck of the woods, too.;)


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