When I was a little girl, the basement in the house where I grew up was probably one of the scariest places I had to go alone.
The basement was a large unfinished room with a heavy dark curtain dividing the space. I believed the curtain was in place to hide monsters that waited around for me when my mom or dad asked me to retrieve a canned good or roll of paper towel.
I proceeding with caution, each step down the stairs was made with as little noise as possible so the monsters would not wake up. I gently pulled the curtain aside and headed straight to the back storage room. To limit my time down there, I memorized what was on each shelf so I could be in and out like a race car driver making a pit stop.
Once the item I needed was in my clutch, I ran as fast as I could through the curtain and up the stairs, taking them two-at-a-time. Throughout my sprint I prayed silently over and over, “Please God, help me not to be scared”. Monsters know when kids are in their space and they know what a delicacy they are. Like veal, the young have such a juicy tenderness about them. I was in the monster’s space and they wanted to catch me and eat me.
This sprint and silent prayer for protection continued throughout my chilhood, even after the curtain came down when my parents finished the basement. I was certain the monsters were still living in the closets and rooms with newly installed doors.
My life was spared each time I had to go to the basement. I learned the importance of taking stairs two-at-a-time while praying the same prayer for protection. I was not eaten by monsters.
Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
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?