Every year I have a favorite little student that works his or her way around the corners of my heart. I really try not to do this but invariably one little person demonstrates a quality or sweetness that wraps itself so tightly into my psyche that I can’t explain to you what their endearing quality is. Last year it was “Yoyo.” He was the Asian boy that daily exasperated his teacher and was always sitting in a chair at the back of the room when I entered to give my lesson. This year it is Gaspar. Gaspar is one of the little Hispanic children that have spilled a beautiful richness into the diversity of our school.
I love diversity and find that I long for it in the people groups I inhabit. This may seem odd for a member of the majority group but there are 2 reasons why I love diversity: One of the things that my parents did really well was fill my childhood home and supper table with people of every nationality imaginable. So it is very normal and comfortable for me to expect to look around and see kinship and community in the faces that surround me. Secondly, when you are raised in a highly-controlled environment with unreachable standards of perfection, you long to be accepted for who you are and what gifts you can bring to this world. You rail at the “yellow pencil” standards that guide your life and continually whisper that you don’t measure up for some illusive reason that you can’t quite put your finger on because it doesn’t seem to hold any merit.
Now, back to Gaspar. Gaspar is a short little brown-haired boy who struggles to communicate clearly in English and has a lazy eye that makes him lose his balance sometimes. Today I came to Gaspar’s classroom and waited patiently outside the door to be let in. The children are not allowed to open the locked door for safety reasons, so I quietly waited for the teacher to untangle herself from the activity she was mired in and come to the door. Guess who spotted me first? Gaspar. As he peered through the glass door window, Gaspar’s little face lit up like a galaxy of stars and he threw his fists in the air, cheering and jumping simultaneously. This exhuberance did not abate even after I entered the room and made my way over to my chair. He just smiled and smiled at me, twirling in circles, and giving short gasps of excited non-intelligible words. Finally, he landed at my feet and tried to settle his wriggling little body as I began my lesson.
Gaspar in Spanish means “Treasurer”………keeper or overseer of assets holding great value or worth. According to tradition, Gaspar was the name of one of the three wise men who came to seek and honor Jesus at his birth. This little Gaspar doesn’t seem to hold within his treasury anything the world would say holds value or worth. His eye turns in; his skin is brown; he is short; and he struggles to communicate in a way that shows how intelligent he really is. But do not be fooled. For Gaspar is no fool. He brings a gift to the throne of the great, living God that is invaluable. It is a joyful, and loving spirit. God made Gaspar to be a perfect little reflection of Him in all His diversity. So Gaspar is perfect. And His resilient and enduring little spirit endears him to me…..and to God, even more. Gaspar seeks to present his gift of joy and love to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Now, go…… and stop questioning your worth and present your beautifully diverse gifts to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
with the exuberant joy that Gaspar demonstrated!