“Do I really have to write each word I misspell 15 times?” I asked my teacher in 2nd grade. That was enough for me to become an ace at spelling tests. Fast forward fifteen years to my 2nd grade classroom. Having implemented the Spalding “Writing Road to Reading” theories and practices, along with the spelling to writing and reading curricula, my students didn’t need to worry if they would get do-overs. You bet they did. Victoriously a do-over would lead to why I taught in the first place~to see students light up with learning and mastery. And that mastery was determined by each individual student (not based on their date of manufacture ;-). Some of you must be thinking “hey, you shouldn’t get a do-over on everything!”
My favorite administrator said to me when I was 26, “Karla, I appreciate that you don’t give up on the students or yourself! You’ll find a way!” I’ll never forget the impact of that statement. Ms. M (as I fondly call her) was the reason I changed my Master’s program to administration. She motivated me to fulfill a need to help other adults, not just kids, in do-overs (and of course to help achieve successful first attempts!). It was my personal mission to promote a safe and encouraging environment where each person, young or old, knew that grace would abound. With grace, yoked with skill and motivation, there was a satiation of love and learning. The schoolhouse would be satisfyingly electrifying (oh the stories of when the electrocution hurt!)!
Tweak a situation just a bit and we could all do better I’m sure. “Dad, can I take a mulligan on that shot?” “Mom, will you reteach me that chord?” “Boys, how best can I care for you?” “Students, what are you learning from me?” “Staff, how can I make your job better?” “Friends, in what ways can I help?”
“There’s no need for a do-over!” the voice of God boomed. HE was absolutely right as always. If I were to do it over and over again I’d still be ME. But there ARE things I should be doing over … and over.
My “to-do” over and over list:
begin each day with prayer and thanksgiving
give and accept grace
learn from my mistakes
pause and reflect
take care of myself and those I love
live by truth
see the positive
guard my heart
think before I speak
Renew your heart and mind, de-clutter your soul, live with grace, and show love everyday. Do it over and over.
We don’t get a do-over on the ONE LIFE WE HAVE TO LIVE.
The news I waited on four days ago was worth every second. Patiently I tried to keep busy knowing that my granddaughter would soon be making her grand appearance. At 11 p.m. that evening my eyes brightened at her beauty (viewed on my tiny screen). Longing to be there, I was still “over the moon” with her pictures. Such a tiny little princess was delivered into this crazy wonderful world! “Welcome to your life precious Whitley from Washington. I can’t wait for you to meet your first cousin, Asher from Alaska (his beautiful arrival last July officially made me “Grammy K”). And of course your great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and many others.” I’m blissfully blessed.
Most news I don’t care to know about~ does anyone else try to avoid it? The inquisitive side of me~the learner, the researcher, and the “want-to-knower”~wants to stay on top of current affairs. And this “dread” is felt, I’m sure, by many. And then yesterday happened.
I did it. I tuned in the news on T.V. (R.V. living requires a literal “tune”-a twist of the antenna). Proven were the reasons why I shouldn’t. There wasn’t ONE thing learned that impacted my plans for the day (except the weather-but that changes every hour too). The latest headlines seem to always contain controversy-beliefs cemented by a political stance, where you live, the color of your skin, and decisions made by our higher authorities. Karla, turn it off. Slowly I opened the camper door. The birds were singing and the sky was still in place. Happily I headed out to escort my sister to a doctor’s appointment.
Despite my frustrations with drivers driving the last few weeks I considered myself, or so I thought, positively prepped. Listening to uplifting music and glueing on my smile I zipped onto the 2-way lane of life. Oh boy. Just like my newborn grandbaby, I did not feel prepared for entry.
Just like the news, the headlines on the highway were controversial (to say the least). The right lane didn’t like the left lane. The left lane tried to pass the right lane~the fuel of their discontent clouded my view even from a short distance. Apparently the speed limit signs are suggestions only. And if you recall my personality type, I’m not a speeder. Within 40 minutes I felt closer to my maker than I had the whole morning. Safely, I landed at the pick-up point. The remaining 20 minutes on the road with a happy companion made for a better trip.
Unfortunately the air around the health center was pretty stale. Rudeness, discourtesy, and unprofessionalism; they grate my skin like the sound of someone chewing on styrofoam. What REALLY had me hot under the collar (or even hotter under my required mask) was the nonverbal communication towards my sister (I’m protective to a fault, my background is special education, ALL OF US have challenges, and I have too high of expectations for kindness). And then I tell myself, “All God’s children have a place in the choir”!
“Father God, humble me, give me strength, and thank you for loving me and everyone in this place,” I pray to myself. Have we relied so much on “behind the screen” communication that we’ve forgotten that our NONVERBAL is just as powerful (insert eyeroll here if you want; but include tone of voice, loudness, inflection, etc…)? I was so appreciative of the kind and professional individuals that helped us. They deserve praise and a raise! Their kindness definitely helped soothe the sting of the rude ones.
Isn’t this our world anyway? Not to sound too simplistic, but some folks are nice, some aren't. Some hate their jobs or themselves so much they’re going to deflect their feelings on everyone around them. This isn’t “new” news; it is sad news though. Some come from abusive backgrounds, broken relationships, financial crisis, loss of loved ones, or other things in their lives that have caused sorrow and pain to turn to anger and lack of empathy (or sympathy). Perhaps their hope is gone? They can’t see it in this topsy-turvy world. Sometimes a glimpse of hope is all you need to spark a flame of faith.
My sister and I said good-bye. Soon after completing a call, I noticed a police officer loading his trunk. There was a voice whispering, “Encourage him.”
“Officer, I’m sorry to bother you. But I just wanted to tell you that I appreciate all that you do.”
“Thank you, Ma’am. I don’t always hear that.”
“Have a great day and stay safe!”
“You too. Thank you again!”
As I was leaving a man walked out of the gas station extending his hand to the officer. Tears immediately filled my eyes. Quickly I put my car in park and got out. They both looked at me when I said, “This is the hope I needed to see today.”
“We’re not all alike and we don’t all believe or act the same!” the man exclaimed.
“And we’re not all that bad either,” the officer said.
I stated, “I love you both for who you are.”
I have good news. There’s someone that loves you NO MATTER WHAT. There is love when you don’t feel like you deserve it. There was a sacrifice beyond my comprehension. We don’t have to understand it. We just have to believe it. It’s free. And you my friends are worthy.
Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.