I walked slowly into Japanese Conversation class and plopped wearily into my usual seat. In the last semester of college, fatigue and mental overload was taking its toll. As graduation drew near, I was beginning to struggle with the foreboding prospect of job hunting while completing the last leg of my studies. And of all my subjects, this was the worst. I dreaded the three hours of twisting my tongue to capture the cadences of conversation in a foreign language.
After fumbling through a dialogue with my partner, to my surprise, I heard the girl sitting behind me reading the dialogue all by herself. Polly had sat behind me all semester, but somehow we had never talked. I glanced over my shoulder and saw that Polly’s conversation partner was absent. As I listened to Polly struggling through a long dialogue, I winced at the thought of being in her place.
“How can one person sing a duet by herself?” the teacher said jokingly. “Polly, find a partner to do the next dialogue with you.”
I whispered, “Do you want to read the dialogue with me?” and Polly’s eyes lit up. “Yes, thanks!” she whispered back. We read the next dialogue together, and Polly thanked me again afterwards. I turned my attention to the teacher’s explanations of informal speech patterns in Japanese and my conversation with Polly slipped to the back of my mind.
When the bell finally rang, I was putting away my textbook and notes when Polly leaned over and pushed a little yellow Post-it paper into my hand. Out of the classroom, I opened the note and read:
“Dear Elsa, thank you for reading the dialogue with me today! Wishing you a happy graduation! You can make it!”
I had hardly spoken to this classmate, but in response to my very small gesture she had taken the time to encourage me with this note. I felt like God wanted to show me that I wasn’t alone and that He was looking out for me even in the little details of my life.
I hope that whenever I am a recipient of kindness I will take the time to show appreciation, just as Polly did. I hope that I too can be on the lookout for everyday moments when I can be a channel of God’s love to others.