When I was first asked to write for this blog, I immediately felt excitement, coupled with a twinge of apprehension.
I felt excited, because I absolutely love writing, especially when I know it isn’t going to be graded. (Wait… this isn’t going to be graded, is it?) And I felt apprehensive, because, aside from grad school papers, I pretty much stick strictly to humor-infused memoirs with somewhat of an “I-say-what-I-want-and-I-won’t-care-what-you-think” flair to them.
But the truth is, I do care what you think. No matter how flippant or casual my writing may appear on the surface, nearly every comma, parenthetical joke, and seemingly off-the-cuff remark has actually been carefully considered, scrapped multiple times, and finally re-typed with the most ambiguous of resolve. So don’t let me fool you. I’m really not as slick as I seem.
Something I’ve been learning, though, is that sometimes it’s ok not to be slick. Sometimes being authentic matters more than being slick. You know that saying, “You have to risk it to get the biscuit”? Well, sometimes you have to risk giving up slickness in order to truly get the biscuit.
I recently started interning at an elementary school here in Chicago. My first day there, the principal directed me to a room of 3rd and 4th graders. I was all pumped up and ready to go… but then I remembered one tiny, little detail: Kids are TERRIFYING. How and why had I accepted this internship placement? A wave of profound fear washed over me as I frantically tried to conjure up any excuse to get myself the heck out of there.
Unfortunately (or fortunately) I continued to draw blank after blank as we made the short walk of doom to the classroom, and, somehow, I ended up standing at the front of a full class of students, much to my chagrin. (But really, how do teachers do that every day? Props, teachers. Props.)
I gave some little spiel about how the kids could come talk to me if they were ever struggling with anything or if they just needed someone to talk to. I stood there awkwardly for a few moments, feeling much like the last one to be picked for dodge ball, and then I eventually made my way to the door. Just as I was about to leave, I felt a gentle tug on my shirt.
“Miss Stephanie, will you have me?” the little boy standing there asked. “Will I have you?” I replied. “Yes, will you have me?” he repeated.
Something about the unpretentious, raw nature of his question pulled at my heartstrings so tightly that I almost wanted to cry.
I thought at first that his overwhelming cuteness had caused the sudden surge of emotion. (Let’s be honest, we’ve all had our “I can’t even” moments – just think back to the first time you saw Charlie Bit My Finger. Too cute for words, am I right? No? Ok, how about Kid President? Boo from Monsters, Inc.? Puss in Boots from Shrek 2? I can keep going.)
It wasn’t his cuteness that got me, though. It was his sincere, pure, unapologetic vulnerability.
Because, if you think about it, “Will you have me?” is an incredibly vulnerable question to ask another human being. It’s basically like saying, “This is me; feel free to reject or accept me, just let me know which one you decide.” It’s hoping for acceptance but knowing that, ultimately, it’s out of your control.
It’s knowing that there’s a chance you may be rejected, but still choosing to put yourself out there regardless. It’s taking a risk for the sake of relationship—for the sake of being heard, known, loved.
I have truly learned so much in my few short weeks with the kiddos. I’ve been struck by their wit, integrity, wisdom, and kindness. I’ve been baffled by how observant they are and how much they seem to enjoy commenting on my attire (for better and for worse). But I think the most significant thing I’ve learned from them is what true vulnerability looks like.
I want to be someone who stands in front of others and asks, “Will you have me?” without pretense and without guaranteed security. I want to be someone who stands in front of the throne of grace with overwhelming thankfulness, joy, and 100% confidence that my God’s answer to that same question will always be, “Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.” I guess what I’m trying to say is, I want to be someone who is willing to risk it to get the biscuit.
Bio: Stephanie Kirschner is a current grad student at Moody Bible Institute in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program. She is wise, witty, sweet, and loving. If that wasn’t enough, she is a marathon-running, piano-playing, just all around amazing person! Connect with her on Facebook!