my fan club
“mr. kamarr i have a loose tooth.”
“well i’m happy to hear your tooth will finally be escaping from your face.”
“but mr. kamarr, it hurts.”
“well tell your dad and maybe he’ll pull it out for you; dad’s are good at that sort of thing.”
“but i don’t ever see my dad.”
“well have your grandpa, or uncle, or older brother, or cousin- some man you can trust do it.”
“we don’t have any men in our lives.”
“you mean there are no men in your life you can trust and look up to? not even at church?”
“why do you think we come here everyday.”
i’m tired of being a medical doctor working as the assistant to a middle school nurse, running around like i’m crazy to barely make enough money to cover our bills and a little fun every so often. i want a career so badly, a job that i can just focus on and turn into a part of the greater narrative of my life as i grow in Christ and raise a family. i pray for this constantly, a new job, a new place to live, some sort of change that takes me from where i am to a place somewhat more like where i would much rather be. but then i have conversations like the one above, and i’m left shaking my head, wishing with every fiber of my being that i wasn’t saying the prayer that i actually am, the prayer that says: “thank You God for having me here, and putting me where i am truly needed.” the aforementioned conversation took place today during lunch time as 4 girls ranging from 10-13 in age looked over my shoulder at some of the pictures from what my family did this summer. every since i first started working at this school i have had a “fan club” of girls, and some boys too, who stop by 4 days a week (“no visitors on Fridays; i’m too busy”) during their lunch break to just talk, watch me work, bug me. my first year i felt like maybe it was more of a “girls with crushes” thing, but as the years rolled by, it became increasingly obvious that this was not the case; these girls weren’t drawn to me because they found me attractive, they were drawn to me because there was a blank space in their life they needed filled. some of the girls would talk to me because i reminded them of their father but cooler, saying the same things but with a handlebar mustache so it was more palatable; some of the ladies hated the men in their life, and enjoyed knowing a man they could respect and be respected by. but as the girls so plainly stated today, some of them come to my office because i am the only male figure in their life worth coming to. how sad is that? how sad is it that there are little girls, future mothers and wives, who are so desperate for a worthwhile relationship with a man that they will spend what little free time they have huddled in a health office with a guy they barely know? i told the girls that this fact made me sad, that it didn’t ruin my day or anything, but that i was so sorry to hear that they had no other men in their life. they had to leave, and i had to get some work done, but they will be back tomorrow, to bug me again, and i will certainly let them.
there are forces in the world that will have you believe that kids don’t need two parents in the home, or a mom and a dad, but if you asked the kids, not the jaded adults pretending that they are tougher than they really are, less scarred from traumas and memories than they really are, if you asked the kids they would freely acknowledge what having a mom and a dad means to them. like the young man who came by every day when his dad was stationed in Iraq, and still comes now because i’m like his “school uncle” or something, kids need a man in their life, not just somewhere in the universe; no matter how loving and caring a man he is, his physical presence is irreplaceable and totally necessary. there is so much i want to do in this life, so many things i want for myself and for my family, but at moments like these i must admit that the work God is using me for seems infinitely greater than the work i dream of doing. maybe these ladies will grow to walk the streets sleeping with men for money; maybe they will marry the first boy who says “i love you;” maybe they get knocked up the year after they leave here or end up on the streets, or on drugs; maybe they go to college and invent some new technology or eventually become president of the United States. whatever they end up doing with their lives, if even just one of them grows up to know what a man is supposed to be because of a few minutes a day, four days a weak spent bugging me in my office, then all these years of struggle and ego crushing failure have been more than worth it.