At the end of the month, I’ll be visiting a group of 8th graders in New Jersey and have been thinking back to my own eighth grade year. I was a pretty shy student whose heart pounded ferociously whenever I gave an oral report or was called on to answer a question. I was so quiet, that on the last page of our mimeographed yearbook, I was bequeathed a microphone so that my voice could be heard.
The years have made me braver. Giving a presentation or facing a crowd still makes me a bit anxious, but my heart doesn’t beat quite as ferociously. I’ve looked up from my notes long enough to realize that a crowd is usually a collection of kind faces, encouraging smiles and reassuring nods. I’ve discovered that life is so much better when we aren’t too scared to open our eyes and see.
Not everything I see is beautiful. We live in a deeply blemished world. In large and small ways, it often seems that the truth gets buried in lies and love is crushed by ignorance and hate. It often seems that way, but I truly believe that goodness will always triumph.