For Good ...

by Kristi Van Dyk

I'm a musical nut. Wicked is one of my favorites. Steve and I have seen it at least 3 times (once with Kayleigh). Benjamin and Madeleine are off to see it with Nana and Pa for their birthdays this year, and I can scarcely wait to hear them recount the story and visual effects from their perspective. They will finally have images for the songs they sing in their sleep ...

But, I digress ... 

In the musical, there is this moment, this rich and poignant moment where Elphaba and Glinda are about to part ways. For a lot of reasons, its a final parting (I won't spoil it for you Grand Rapidians who are seeing it for the first time), and in this moment, this song is sung between the two of them. (Please, do listen to an excerpt, if you are unfamiliar, before you read on) ... 

These two opposites had grown, through the course of their adventures, to appreciate the best things about each other. Here they confess their differences, but acknowledge how.much. they had grown in the process. 

I've heard it said
that people come into our life
for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led, to those, 
who help us most to grow
if we let them. 
And we help them in return.

Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
because I knew you .... 

This last month I resigned from my position at add.a.lingua, and I could not summarize my time there any better than this deeply powerful scene from my favorite show. 

The time I spent working was personal to me (evidence: look at our lives!). I believe, unswervingly, in the work the company is doing in schools, and I valued every chance I got to learn more about the process my babies experience each day. But my work there challenged me. There was a constant state of flux and reinvention. New ideas were brimming incessantly. Boundaries were always pushed, limitations questioned. For my stable, consistent, system developer mindset, I struggled against it, often in tears, my team knows that. But in persisting, in the push and the pull ... out of it came incredible things, incredible schools, incredible kids.

Like a comet pulled from orbit
as it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
halfway through the wood
Who can say if I've been changed
for the better
Because I knew you ... 
I have been changed for good.

As I back away from an office culture of perpetual change, into a home culture of ...
perpetual change ...  
I don't doubt I have been changed for.the.better ... I have living, breathing, proof ...

Tonight, Joshua stroked my face as he sucked his thumb and fell asleep (while I wished it had happened a little faster so I could be "on schedule"), I smiled.
I kissed his beautiful, long, dark eyelashes and thought ... 
I could have missed this. 

Without the on the ground training for tumultuous change
Without the passionate pursuit of languages and cultures
Without a Mandarin Chinese immersion program to fill our family with love for China

I would have missed this. 

It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me is made of
What I learned from you
You'll be with me,
Like handprint on my heart

And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
by being my friend

And if this post isn't evidence enough, anyone familiar with add.a.lingua trainings will chuckle to themselves at what I prepared last night ... some chart paper (wow is that pricey!!!$$$), for an upcoming staff development session I have agreed to facilitate.  

As I texted one of my co-workers tonight, "you can take the girl out of add.a.lingua, but you can't take add.a.lingua out of the girl." 

I can't wait to see where our stories take us next.  

Much love,