In a recent discussion with a co-worker, he told me that if he had an opportunity to go back in time and do one thing differently, he would turn on a light. I will not share rest of the story, but it got me thinking…what one thing would I do differently if I had the chance?
Truthfully, I cannot pinpoint only one thing as I have many things I wish I had done differently. However, I have a memory to share and this thought comes on the cusp of my upcoming 30 year high school reunion. I have been thinking of my old school days and look forward to reuniting with the class of ’85 which include a majority of people that shared the formative first 8 years of my life in grade school.
Join me on Memory Lane, 7th grade to be exact. I got along well with the kids in my class from 1st grade to 6th grade (not counting the typical pre-teen girl drama). But 7th grade was a pivotal time.
I love rules, boundaries, and instructions. I am not a rigid person; I simply like structure. When the teacher was called out of the room, she often left one of her students in charge to keep order in the class. I am not sure if I shot my hand in the air to be picked for the job or if she randomly selected me, but nonetheless, I was class monitor for the short time she was away. I was instructed to write down any and all names of the kids who talked or goofed off in her absense.
There I was, in charge, standing in the front of class, chalk in hand. The familiar “bad boys” got out of their desks and began talking. I turned to face the chalkboard and chalk dust fell slowly onto the chalk rail as the names began to appear…Jeff, Ted, Dave, Mike and John. I had a job to do and I was sticking to the rules and my instructions. I did not write their names out of malice; I was fully aware they were breaking the rules set by the teacher in her absense.
When the teacher returned, she saw the names on the board and proceeded to call the boys to the front of the room and, to my horror, gave them detentions. They were instructed to stay after school and serve time for being disobedient.
From that day on, I consider 7th grade one of my worst years in school. I was shunned, called names and not trusted by my male peers even though I begged forgiveness. My love of rules, boundaries and instruction held a very different value system in comparison with the boys in my class.
The one thing would I do differently if I had the chance…I would not have written any names on the board. Nobody died because a couple kids were tired of sitting in their desks and wanted to talk to their buddies. It was really a high expectation the teacher placed on the class of 12 year olds with a lot of energy at the beginning of a school year and it placed me in an awkward situation based on my love of structure.
You may not understand my love for structure or this thought process, but I believe God has a soft spot for people like me. He gives special instructions in Galatians 5:16, 22-23.
“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forebearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
I am not rigid, but I still love rules, boundaries and instructions because I love structure. I love the freedom of God’s instruction in this passage from Galations.
What one thing would you do differently if you had the chance?
I did what I told myself I would not do. I can make excuses until sundown, but I won’t carry on any more. I neglected this blog. Although I continue to write, I stopped writing here.
I have been focusing my creativity in Faithwriters.com Writing Challenges this year. The editors share a topic with a deadline and I spend the week toiling over my entry to meet the word count between 150 – 750 words. I push myself to write dialog and I try to be poetic, all with a Christian theme. Since the first of the year, I have had two submissions take Second Place, one Third Place, and three Highly Commended. I am very proud of my accomplishments and enjoy my growth as a writer. Yet, the competitive side of me will not quit the fight to be in First Place. I am so close!
I apologize for neglecting this blog. Now that I am here, it feels like hanging out with an old friend. I have stories to share – especially many “God moments” as He is doing a mighty work in me. I feel led to share to give you encouragement in your faith journey.
I will be back soon to share my heart in my writing soon. Until then, meditate on this verse,
James 1:19 NIV
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.
Call me a late-bloomer. In my early 40s, I marched in step, while dancing in my heart, to the band playing Pomp and Circumstance for the college graduating class of 2009. I worked hard for this glorious milestone. While employed full-time for 14 years with the same company, I attended evening and Saturday classes taking anywhere from 3 to 9 credit hours each semester for 6 years. Many late nights were spent reading textbooks and writing papers. I am the youngest of five in my family, and the first to graduate college.
Having made the Dean’s List 3 times and excelling in the capstone classes with A+ as my final grade, I was bursting with confidence. Bursting with confidence, even though a month before my graduation I was blind-sided with a 60-day notice that my job was being eliminated. The blind-side was softened by promises that the Human Resources Department would assist me in finding another position within the company.
In October, 2008, God called home the president of the division, whom I supported for five years. Understandably, a shift in management ensued and my job became redundant when the newly-appointed president decided to retain his current assistant. I cried on my husband’s shoulder that evening the day the bomb dropped on me. This news stung my pride like a very angry bee. As the last step of our debt-snowball, we had planned to pay off our house the following year and this unexpected news was forcing us to recalculate our timing and finances.
During my 60-day sentence, the Human Resources Department proved not as agreeable in assisting my job search within the company as promised. However, I was blessed with a temporary boss that knew my situation and he allowed me the freedom to network within the company. I felt like a door-to-door salesman selling my work ethic, job skills and experience, and of course, highlighting my new degree to management throughout the company.
Time moved forward and the new president rearranged his corner office and I regretfully trained his assistant. Word spread that my days were numbered. Often asked how I was coping with this news and transition, I was able to witness confidently that God has a plan for my life and I was not at all worried.
My inter-company networking and salesmanship paid off and I was the first of many candidates interviewed for a position on that final week of my employment. I knew I was over-qualified, but my confidence was still running high and I really wanted to stay with the company. After all, 14 years was a long time to give up without a fight.
I was invited to lunch every day of that last week by co-worker-turned-friends. Everyone in my department held a special lunch in my honor on the final Friday. I was given an over-sized homemade card signed by the team along with gifts, balloons, and a sugar-high from the icing on the farewell cake. At 4:30pm that day, after everyone left to begin their weekend, I waited by the office phone in anticipation of a call from Human Resources to either invite me to the exit interview or extend a job offer.
The phone rang and I heard myself accepting the job offer. Humbled by the love shown to me from so many on that final week, I likened it to being at my own funeral and popping out of the casket and asking everyone what was going on because I was simply taking a nap.
In my mind’s eye, I replay this time when I juggled a full-time job, late nights reading textbooks, writing papers, and trying to keep up with house and husband. I know God carried me through it all. I never gave in to worry the day after the bomb dropped on me. I believed God’s promises written in Romans 5:3-5 (NRSV),
”And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”
Even as a late-bloomer, I never gave up on God because he never gives up on me.