Where will she be?
When Goldi and her brother were little, and it was too cold or wet outside to play, the two of them would play hide and seek. I was sometimes a little hesitant to let them have free reign of the house. I wasn’t sure what the house would look like in the aftermath of choosing to race around wherever to find the ideal spot to become “invisible”. Nonetheless, the kids played and played, and the time passed away more happily erasing the complaints of boredom.
Goldi chose to hide behind doors or under bedspreads. Her brother chose to hide in the cupboard or once inside the dryer! It took a lot of time to finally find her brother. It didn’t take much time to find Goldi.
Fast forward 10 or so years, and it sort of seems like hide and seek again. If we were to go out looking for Goldi’s brother in the adult world of life, we might find him on a community basketball team and working as a CPA in a reputable accounting firm or maybe as a sports announcer on a major network, or maybe running for Congress. The boy has straight A’s, he’s a jock, and the BMOC. (Big Man on Campus) The possibilities are endless for him. Maybe he’ll end up selling dryers? Goldi will graduate most probably with a certificate of completion. She sings in the choir and draws constantly between school and sleep. She has a small circle of friends who will one day wander off into where they will be. So, Goldi in the adult world of life, where would we find her? Will it be in one predictable place because that is the only place a girl like Goldi could be?
Recently at an IEP, which is the yearly plan for where kids with special needs will be, her goals were discussed. All were related to schoolwork, responsible habits, and being social. All fine and good. But then the matter of her future came up. Her future after she graduated from high school. What were the possibilities? Where would she be? Someone suggested “working in a coffee shop.”
Goldi does know how to make coffee. She made some for her dad recently and he said:
“This is the best cup of coffee I ever had!”
I couldn’t make coffee if my life depended on it. The last time I made a cup, it was for my grandmother, now years in heaven. It was too strong, and it spilled over the top. My grandmother drank it anyway, but I am sure she had indigestion afterward. Goldi puts the filter in, measures, scoops, and pours in the right amount of water. A few minutes later, presto! Success! Is working in a coffee shop where she will be?
I looked into the fuzzy future. I saw her dressed in a pink cap and apron. She is moving fast but carefully. There is a line of customers wanting their morning fix. She is doing what she has learned to do and can do in her sleep. Filter, coffee beans, water, perk, repeat twenty thousand times. Except maybe a little different, they may need sugar, cream, or frothy or hazelnut or frappe or whatever coffee snobs know and ask for.
“A coffee shop?” I ponder and sigh.
“Yes, she is totally employable in a setting like that,” said a staff person.
That is good that she is employable. But I didn’t expect her being employed in a coffee shop. I find myself dreaming bigger dreams than that. I see her as an artist illustrating children’s stories and writing them too. I see her making cartoon animations. I see her singing in a choir. I see her writing her own music. I see her sharing arts with others with special needs more severe than her own. I see her shining Christ’s light in a weary, sick, world. A coffee shop? I can’t see that in my dreams. But I do have to be realistic.
“That could be,” I say, “I mean she can make coffee better than I can. And she will earn money. And she will socialize with customers. “
I was still unsettled with that thought. I just wasn’t sure that’s where she will be.
I can’t say that I am strongly confident of a glorious future. I can’t even say for sure, that Goldi won’t work in a coffee shop. Being realistic is probably the better way to play this game of hide and seek. This is where she can easily be. It teaches her about life. The job security is endless when it comes to coffee. No doubt she’ll see some that really are satisfied working at a coffee shop. Maybe she would be too?
But why am I dreaming of something else? Where else could she be? What could she be doing where she feels God smiling at her using the gifts He gave her? Where could she be where she feels like the person God made her to be? If you asked Goldi, she will tell you where she might be. They range from being a singer, to children’s illustrator, to cartoon animator, to being in plays or musicals, to being an author, to raising parakeets, and this might change tomorrow. But never, have I ever heard her say “When I grow up, I want to work in a coffee shop.” Nor do I want to hear her say “Okay, I guess I should just work in a coffee shop,” simply because she has been told there is nothing else for her
Because unlike some who might dream of such an opportunity, she doesn’t. She dreams of something else. And as far as we are concerned, we want her to keep dreaming of possibilities. For all of us have been created on purpose and for a purpose, and with God, all things are possible. Maybe even one of those BIG dreams.
“Whatever Goldi does,” I finally say, “Whether working in a coffee shop, or making a dream come true, Goldi will not just be one of the employed and contribute to her community. She will enrich people’s lives with her God given gifts. Just as she does now and will continue to do so. “
There was silence. Then a few nods and an agreeable hum. You know one of those hums that tell you that what you said hit a chord in the heart.
Where she will be? – She will be doing exactly where God wants her to be, using the gifts that are hers, using them the way only she can, glorifying God in a way that only she can.