on (not) being Taylor Swift.

Story time! Back in the spring, I applied to (and was accepted at) a local divinity school with a plan to go part-time for a while and then try a different sort of career path. I was so excited. And then a job I had always wanted at a local Episcopal school came open and I applied and they hired me! I was also excited about that. But I couldn’t really do both of those things at the same time so I decided to defer divinity school and stick with being a librarian for now. I am a little bit sad about it because I had to choose but the good news is that I like my new job. Plus, we have chapel at my new school and I offered to help with chapel, and the priest let me give the message one day a few weeks ago. I thought I would post it here (along with a covert no-cameras-allowed-in-chapel picture) because I was happy with how it went. My school is PreK-8th grade so keep that in mind as you read my message. It was somewhat scary but I loved doing it and I hope I get to do it again!

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Raise your hand if you have ever heard of someone named Taylor Swift.

I’ve heard a lot of you saying that you will be going to see her here in Greensboro in a few weeks. I also heard a rumor that there was a discussion in at least one house about whether I am actually Taylor Swift just pretending to be your librarian. I love this idea, that Taylor is in our library reading stories to the kindergarteners, shelving books, and fixing iPads. I bet Taylor could host an amazing book fair! I have bad news, though, I am not Taylor Swift, though I am flattered by the comparison. And I feel that I should tell you that at my previous school I did dress like her for “celebrity day” and carried around a guitar and sang very badly to my students.

One reason that I am especially pleased to be compared to Taylor Swift is that she seems to be a genuinely kind person. I have seen news stories about her buying Christmas presents for her fans and donating to people who are in need. I have seen her admit when she was wrong and graciously accept even very strange apologies. She seems like a good friend to the people both in her squad and out. Those are all things I strive to do in my life and that I think we all hope for here in our lives and here at school.

There is no secret Taylor Swift library takeover, but we have already had a lot of discussions in the library about Halloween costumes. It’s one of my favorite times of year because all of us get to put on and try out a different identity. Sometimes we go for something scary or something that we might want to be when we grow up. Sometimes we go for a superhero or a villain. Even though I don’t have a secret identity as Taylor Swift, and I don’t know that there are any secret superheroes here, I have been thinking this week about the secret identity that I do have that we all share. All of us were created by God and in God’s image and even though we look like regular people at a school, we have the opportunity to carry God’s message in the world with us everywhere we go. We have the opportunity to be kind, to encourage people to be fair, and to help people in need. Every time we take that opportunity, we are using our secret identities as children of God to make the world a better place.

The scripture we heard said that every time we help someone in need we are actually helping Jesus, and that’s the other thing about our secret identity as children of God: it applies to everyone. It applies to the people we love and the people who are sitting next to us and the people who get on our nerves. Every single one of us is important to God, and so every one of us should be important to each other.

So remember that when you show kindness and help to others, you are both helping Jesus and being Jesus in the world. It might not seem as exciting as being a celebrity or a superhero, but this secret identity is one of the most important things about us all. As you move through your day, be sure to remember your real identity and let it help you guide the choices you make. It’s better even than being Spider-man or Hermione Granger or Luke Skywalker. For me, being one of God’s children is even better than secretly being Taylor Swift.

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