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Saturday, April 5, 2014

SPRING CLEANING

Isaiah 55:6,7 (MSG)

Seek God while he’s here to be found,
    pray to him while he’s close at hand.
Let the wicked abandon their way of life
    and the evil their way of thinking.
Let them come back to God, who is merciful,
    come back to our God, who is lavish with forgiveness.


I remember the first year I taught at a small gifted magnet school: grades two through five.  I was the new "kid" on the block with only two years experience from a smaller district.  

With only two of us teaching fourth grade, you might conclude that it would be a cinch to plan together.  Think again. 

Much of my right-brained enthusiasm and a multitude of ideas resulted in my left-brained partner's stern looks and sharp remarks on more than one occasion during our planning periods.  This almost quenched my child like desire to share as we spent time together.  (Almost.)

I enthusiastically continued to spout my ideas during our weekly conference.  It never occurred to me then that this might have annoyed her.

"Let's just get the outline for the plans done and run off the worksheets," she curtly interrupted.  She just wanted to complete the plans and return to the sanctuary of her classroom.

At the beginning of the second semester, we needed to agree on a destination for the year end field trip.  

My partner wanted the tried and true one that they had done for years in fourth grade.  

Me? Well, the previous weekend, I attended a marine science workshop. My notebook and mind brimmed with ideas for labs and activities for a beach field trip at South Padre Island.  I could not wait to tell her all about it and how it tied into our science objectives.

So, as soon as I saw my partner in the hall, right outside the teachers' lunchroom, I stopped her. 

"Wouldn't it be great to take the kids to the beach?  I've got a lot of great labs we could conduct there." 

Initially, just the two of us stood in the hall, but by the time I finished, a second grade class filed quietly past us. 

The "beach" word really must have really set her off.  Immediately, without missing a beat, this woman proceeded to squawk at me!

"There is NO WAY that I will take any of these kids to the beach!  I don't know what you are thinking!  They'll be out on the beach, getting lost, or maybe even drowning!  Forget it!  We will NEVER go to the beach!"

I felt my eyes filling up and ready for a down pour, so I headed straight for the staff restroom to disappear and calm down.

Humiliated, I collected myself before I entered the staff room, lunch bag in hand.

Respecting the fact that we each had our different point of view, I forgave her abruptness and worked with her for three more years, but at times I walked on eggshells.  

Several years later, I ran into her at a restaurant.  We chatted at the entrance,  and then we decided to eat lunch together.  

While reminiscing about some of our times teaching together, I asked her if she remembered the first field trip discussion. 

Funny, she never even recalled the hallway conversation.  

I told her how it had affected me, and that I didn't harbor any bad feelings, but I just wondered about it.  

She assured me that she was stressed out during that time with personal issues.  I could relate and we parted on a positive note.  I was glad to see her.

God states that he will pardon the most wicked if they ask for it and turn from their evil ways.

So, who am I to hang onto PETTY differences?  Why not let go and clear my heart?

The only loser, when I don't hush my mind up as it starts to recycle old dirt, is me. 

So, now it's time for spring cleaning: forgiveness.

I will examine myself.  Dump the garbage.  Tell those spiraling words to cease and desist.  Throw out those unproductive thoughts; and gift myself with calm emotions and more clarity to enjoy the present.      

Matthew 5:8  You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world. (MSG)




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