Teaching to Learn and Learning to Teach

Thankful to Have My Worlds Colliding

This weekend I took a quick trip to the Bay Area. The primary purpose was to see my former student in her high school play. The weekend brought many of my worlds together: friends, family, former students.

So I wouldn’t have to drive both ways on my own, my friend Adrienne offered to come along. We were planning on driving 12 hours round trip (It actually took a lot less time than I anticipated :) ) and to only be there 18 but Jason, my brother, convinced us to leave early by offering to drive in the dark the night before. So Jason, Adrienne, and I spent 5 hours in the car together with the radio off the entire way.

Adrienne had hung out with my brothers some before, but she had never even met my parents and she didn’t know any of the Ramirez/Allen side of the family. I was told my senior year of college that I tend to keep everyone and everything in my life in categories. (Thanks, Kel, you are a good friend and I’m so thankful you pointed this out.) My friend groups don’t mix and my family and friends rarely mix. When they did, I would be nervous and try to manage everyone’s’ perceptions of everyone else and of me. I’ve thought about that a lot since then, but only now am I experiencing the sweetness that comes with changing that.

A few weeks ago, I had a random mix of people over to my house. Most of the people knew each other, some knew each other better than I even know them, but I don’t regularly hang with all those people at the same time. My roommates were also home and though they knew of the others because I like to talk, they had never met some of them and had never seen me interact with those people. It was sweet and there was a lot of laughter. At the end of the night, I think all my friends knew me a little better.

This weekend was super sweet. It brought together my family, a friend, and even a former student. Adrienne got to see a little of my world, people’s responses to me in different arenas, passions, quirks, etc. that she hadn’t known. Keeping things neat, comfortable, controlled, compartmentalized, and predictable keeps people at arms length. It is motivated by fear. Fear and love don’t coexist. Perfect love casts out fear.

Here are some added benefits to allowing the people you love to see you in different contexts:

  • They are better able to speak truth into your lives. They see you for who you are and not who you put on display. Things that they can’t quite put their finger on, might be more clear as they see that manifested in a different way in a different context.
  • You are better able to see who you are. My actions towards my family suddenly look different when someone else is seated at the table.
  • It deepens friendships. I talked about things with my family and with Adrienne that I don’t usually discuss with them respectively. I also know that my relationship with either group isn’t dependant on image, or on whether they like each other.
  • I also know that my family is more normal that I ever knew :). Adrienne said to me as we got in the car, “Your family is way more normal than I thought they would be.” Not sure what that says about me, since I must give off the vibe that I come from a strange background.
  • I learned about Adrienne. I learned she is really good at encouraging me to look at things from different angles. I learned she really likes McDonald’s. I learned she doesn’t like brown and black together and that she is amazing at Super Mario Cart. I learned that I can talk to her about things I thought were off limits. I now know better how she will react to not really having a plan. I learned that she doesn’t care if we are doing something spectacular; she’s ok with hanging out and doing the ordinary (Although she was disappointed we didn’t make it to the Full House house in San Fran :) ).
  • I learned that my Dad really, really wants me to date/get married :). He said to Adrienne when we arrived, “Oh. When I heard the name Adrienne, I thought you were going to be a boy.” He had decluttered the house, vacuumed, and everything in anticipation (He still made her feel welcome, but it was funny).

It was a weekend of normalcy and was very refreshing to my soul. Good conversations. Good laughs. Seeing one of my former students and sitting around chit chatting. Oh…. and trying to avoid the tumble weeds in Livermore. Two about the size of my car came at me at once! It was a scary moment. Later that night there was another one in the middle of the road that Adrienne had to warn me about. “Tumbleweed!!!” It’s not a normal everyday occurrence…. and yes, I am easily amused. This weekend has just really led me to being thankful to God for his goodness in so many ways, but especially for his goodness in the people He has placed around me.


2 Comments so far
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Love hearing about your weekend, but more importantly about your perspective in having your “worlds” overlap. I appreciated what you shared (and my opportunity to be a part of that!) and need to work on purposing to do that in my own life.

Comment by joyinthejourney

Jen, you are SUCH a blessing in my life! I am SO glad my kids will have you for an aunt… I just hope my plan works out and you move up here! (hint hint!) :o) You know I only joke with you about that because I LOVE when you are here. Anyway, I love you and am so happy to call you my sister and my friend! :o)

Comment by Belinda

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