Trust the process

“Trust the process.”

Hanging on to those words — willing myself to believe them — I tackled my assignment as a first-time volunteer writing coach at College Summit‘s four-day college application workshop for students from low-income communities.

“You’ll feel despair — hopeless– on Friday night. You’ll feel like you’ll never get there.”

Reading the first drafts of my students’ personal statements late Friday night, despair did creep in.  The task felt impossible — guide four sleep-deprived high school students over the remaining 36 hours to produce essays that clearly communicated their personal stories, in their own voices.

“Trust the process.”

As the clock ticked towards the finish line on Sunday morning, “Joshua” listened attentively as I finished reading his third draft out loud. “Wow, that’s pretty good,” he said tentatively.  I watched him relax and grow animated as he realized what he had accomplished over the four days. “I can’t believe I actually wrote that. I didn’t think I could do it.”

Yes, Joshua. You did it.  You got there.

We did it. We got there.

We trusted the process.

Glimpses of grace at the elevator door

I pushed the elevator button and began scrolling through my iPhone, oblivious to my surroundings.

“Is that a 4s or a 5?”

Startled,  I smiled as I told the young man with Down syndrome that I wasn’t exactly sure which iPhone model I owned … We proceeded to have a lovely conversation about the building, about my son Will who was moving in, and about which floors we were each heading to. Remembering a time where I would have been very uncomfortable talking with a person with intellectual disabilities, I saw in that moment how I had changed– a glimpse of grace.

“There’s someone moving in on the 7th floor. They’ve been up there a long time, ” the elderly man with a cane mentioned as he passed us by.

“Oh, that’s my son — sorry. Sorry you’ve been inconvenienced today.”

Flashing a smile, “Oh no. Not a problem. I just wanted to let you know you might need to wait awhile for the elevator.”

Surprised by the generosity and gentleness of a stranger — another glimpse of grace.

Several hours later, the move completed, I found myself standing at the same elevator door with Will.  As we waited, he turned to me and said, “I did good, didn’t I?” Knowing he was referring to his successful apartment search, I answered, “Yes, Will. You did good. Very good.”

Yes, my dear Will.  You did good. You’ve grown from a challenging toddler into an amazingly creative, brilliant, principled young man. You’ve embraced your “Will-ness” in all its quirky dimensions. You’ve made me proud to be your mom. Majestic moments of grace have poured down on us these past 21 plus years.

Glimpses of grace all around. Watch for them. Write them down. Share them with the people you love. Be changed by them.