Commas. Periods. Semicolons. I never know when to use them. I love to write, so that makes, it, hard, to know, when, to, use, them.
I had never thought punctuation had another meaning. It was simply a way to express yourself. It puts pizazz in something! It ends a sentence. It makes lists: It makes you question things?
Until Easter. We ventured to a new church for Easter. Not because I didn’t want to go to our beloved church, but honestly, getting 4 kids ready for Easter service at 7:45 a.m. made me tired just thinking of it. So we went to Saturday night service at a church down the road. I was kind of bummed, feeling like I was almost sac religious. But then something awesome happened.
The pastor began to recount the meaning of Easter. The pain, the death, the healing and the rebirth and resurrection. He kept saying over and over, “This was not a period, this was a comma”.
He went on to outline that when in life you think something is over, it’s really just begun. When something tragic happens, it’s easy to put a period on it. When something tough happens to you, outside of your control, we often automatically put a period on it. Why don’t we choose the comma? Why is everything so final? What if we looked at tough things, unfair things, not what I wanted, not what I deserved, I really wanted that but didn’t get it things, as commas instead of periods?
You see, he explained, out of pain comes suffering and then healing in some way shape or form. Out of heartbreak comes vulnerability. Out of desire comes passion, and none of those are final events.
So these last few months, I tried it. I put a comma on it. And it totally changed the way I saw things. Nothing was final.
The red paint on the carpet? Comma.
The nasty email from someone I have never met? CAPITAL COMMA.
The news that someone I love is ill, comma. That’s not a period, that’s still a comma. She’s not done. She’s just in the middle of a gigantic comma.
It’s never impossible until it’s done.
As I watched the events of Dallas and Nice unfold, I was horrified. But then I remembered our children.
The reason that we teach in our classrooms, the reasons we continue to come to teach and instruct, is that our children are beautiful, graceful, and fantastic commas. We hold in our hands the ability to shape this world and who they are. The power to inspire and instill faith and trust. To fill their lives with knowledge and substance.
So for now, this world is part of a gigantic comma, it is in no way a period.
Our students are big, gigantic, awkward and sometimes clumsy, yet successful, full of grit and grace commas.
So instead of a ring, put a comma on it.
Let me know how it goes,,,,,
–Katey McPherson – Gurian Institute Executive Director