I have had this dream of living in a lower-income urban neighborhood for several years, and I didn’t choose it to be my dream because I thought that each day would leave me feeling like all was right with the world. I was well aware of some of the struggles that I would see and hopefully eventually be able to help with, but thinking through things and living through things is different.
Seeing students take home packs of food at the end of each week so that they won’t go hungry (on school days many students eat breakfast, lunch, and a snack during the day). Never being able to talk about but knowing that some of my students have hard home lives (sometimes they choose to share things with me that break my heart, and it’s hard to know what I can and can’t say to comfort them). Hearing the neighbors fight. Noticing judgment in someone’s eyes just because of the color of someone’s skin. These things make my smile a little plastered on sometimes in school.
How do we live with this? How and what do we fight? I’m here now, living where I thought I’d be useful. Just how do I become useful?