Watching Small Steps

We met yesterday as small group leaders to discuss the scope of the spring semester at GETS.  We talked about CEQs and heard a few anecdotes from one another about how our classes were going.  We talked about how last semester felt, what we’re looking forward to as classes begin, and what we’re doing differently for the second half of the academic year.  Everyone in the room has served in this capacity for 2-3 years, and we couldn’t dismiss our comparisons with previous classes. 

I thought about our conversation.  I thought about all the changes to syllabi, the books and articles we added and removed for one year and not another.  I thought to my first formation group and how we all we figuring things out three years ago.  I’ve grown since I first started working in the vocational formation and church leadership program.  As a pastor.  As a teacher.  As a person. 

I’m noticing that growth happens mostly when I’m not looking.  Or when I’m always looking and I, therefore, can’t tell the difference between yesterday and the one I’m in.  Monitoring growth is hard when you see the thing growing everyday.  The thing or the person.  You inevitably miss markers which indicate real growth. 

My kid is crawling faithfully.  But he’s taking little steps as well.  He’s walking two or three steps to beat the dishwasher when it’s on.  He steps to his mother but never after I run for the video camera.  I pull his arms up and we step together before I pull those same arms over my head to place him behind my neck so he can release long streams of baby spit in my clean spots.  I need to watch small steps because I can miss so much waiting for the major change to announce itself.  It just doesn’t announce itself.  It slips or steps and sputters, and then you’ve grown.


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