This was the audience at tonight's performance. They were sweet and attentive. Sometimes they spoke so loudly to the person beside them, I could hear every word from three rows up. One of the crew, Joseph, sat beside me through the first act of the performance and saw the show for the first time in the audience. Joseph is sixteen years-old and a kind kid. I don't often do this, but the other day when his mom was over at our house for the cast party, I couldn't let her leave before praising her son and what a good, courteous kid he is. He's polite and intelligent: both of which I have concluded after a variety of conversations I've had with him. Tonight, though, before the show, he broke my heart a little. We got to talking about the basics: family, birth origin...etc...and Joseph told me his father had been abusive to his mother for ten years and that he, in turn. had blocked out the better part of those first ten years of his life. He told me his friends looked to him and came to him as "Therapist Joe" for help working out their problems. He explained the racism he encountered at his high school last year and previous instances at other schools in his life and he explained all of these things as I might explain how to structure a paper in my English 1000 class: as absolute fact, unaffectedly.
He went on to tell me he wants to go to Mizzou and major in History. He wants to prove to everyone that said he "couldn't do it" or would "never amount to anything" that they are all wrong. He speaks with conviction for a sixteen year old that makes me forget he's sixteen and he loves innocently. Joseph is dating a girl named Heather who he wants to marry, although they're both quite young. He wants to marry her and have children at a young age. He values conversation and is incredibly open-minded and kind-hearted, despite the tribulations he has endured throughout his young life. He harbors no ill-will, but explains that people are afraid of what is different from them. However, he says, even that, with a sense of understanding and conviction rather than learned, mature quoting.
Joseph brings me to our topic of the week...What I'm Thankful For as well as circulating through my mind. If I weren't so tired, I would elaborate and discuss this topic further, with more insight and more of the thoughts that circulated in my mind when we spoke to one another, but because I am so tired (remember, Fi and I have been up for 17 and a half hours!) I am going to end on another "thankful" addition to our list and, perhaps, elaborate on Joseph tomorrow.
N: I am thankful for safety, security and the freedom living in our country affords us. I am thankful for a voice that can speak, not just for myself, but for others when they cannot find their own voice or are too afraid to use it and I'm thankful for a place where I am allowed to do so.
Fi: I am thankful for that rare student who takes the time to let me know that I'm making a difference.