Good day, I am Good See. This greeting can be taken many ways. If could be a friend saying, “Hello” or “Good bye”. I could be me speaking to myself in the morning saying, “Remember to have a good day” or in the evening reminding myself, “This day has been good.”
My parents did not name me. Among my people the child is called “Boy” or “Girl” followed by a number according to their place among the other children in the family. When I was about 8 or 9 I was called into the presence of the Elder and instructed to say, “Please, Elder, bestow upon me my name.” The Elder responded with a broad smile, “You are to be called ‘Good See’. You have been gifted to see the good in all things – in the earth, the sky, the water and fire – and in all the creatures and people of our land.”
Good Day, I am Sister Renetta Graff. This is the name given to me by my Religious Community and the name which I have used professionally as a high school teacher and in my other ministries. When it is more appropriate or when talking among friends I use simply, “Renetta”. Members of my family still call me by my nickname “Becky”. The name “SIS” was first given to me by high school students when I was a chaperone for science field trips and Youth Conferences. Now it has become a familiar name used by friends.
As a high school teacher I enjoyed playing in the classroom. Standing with my arms stretched out on either side I would lean over left or right until the student at the board had the Algebra equation balanced. For a course that included probability and statistics the students and I sat around desks playing roulette, throwing dice and dealing cards for a poker game. Smashing my fist into a bowl of water and corn starch was a fun way to teach one concept of viscosity. [Be careful! This only works if you know the scientific principle.]
So it was natural for me to talk to the clowns whom I met in the hospital lobby one evening. They invited me to attend the Clown College where I learned what I already know – that humor and laughter are good for the spirit, help in healing, and add to good health. I had always tried to see people as individuals who were simply asking for someone to see them and to listen to them during challenging times in their lives. Being a Caring Clown provided another venue for extending this ministry.
After a few years of clowning, “Good See” disappeared. I tried different outfits, different face paintings, even different identities. I continued to clown around but without the spirit within. One evening a friend handed me a bundle of patchwork fabric in muted reds, blues and off-whites. “This is Good See’s.” The jacket fit. The pants were too small but I could not let go of the gift. I took pants to a tailor to add a panel. When I went back to pick them up I changed in the dressing room and started to smile. The tailor laughed when I showed her and said, “In my country, Russia, clowns visit the children in the hospitals.”
Shortly after, while having my hair cut I told the stylist, “I am a therapeutic clown.” She shared “When I was being trained our instructor took us to the Ronald McDonald house to give makeovers for the children and their family members. We also shared our talents with homeless families.”