Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Gratituesday: Godly Reminders

This week I am grateful for Godly reminders.  Last week I was at a teaching conference.  I had been really looking forward to it, and I mean really looking forward to it.  We arrived early and started scanning the information book for all of the speakers and their topics.  The conference was aimed at all K-12 teachers who teach math. 

The conference gave many different options of speakers to go to at any given time.  In order to take full advantage of the conference, I read through all of the topics and who they were aimed for, and narrowed down to a few that I would want to visit.  Then I tried to plan how I could get to all of them (some overlapped and the conference was held in rooms in several buildings and on several levels of the buildings).  This took a while.

On Thursday, I got up and went down to the conference to be greeted by thousands upon thousands of teachers.  I navigated my way through the crowd with my handy map of the facility.  When I finally squeezed my way to the room that I was trying to get to, outside was a big red "Full" sign.  I felt like somebody let some air out of my balloon. 

Not to be put down, I quickly flipped through my program book and found another speaker to listen to that was in a larger room in another area of the conference (I had not even considered looking up the room occupancy for each of the speakers).  I went and enjoyed that speaker and then rushed out to get to the next speaker that I "planned" to go to.  When I climbed up the stairs to find the room my eyes fell upon a gigantic line.  I stood in line patiently waiting with the suspense of whether I would get in overwhelming me (this was a topic that I really wanted to hear about).  As silly as this sounds adrenaline was running through my system (I had really booked it getting from one building to the next and going up several flights of stairs).

The line began to move, and I crossed my fingers.  I took about twenty steps and then the line halted.  A conference worker told the people at the front that it was full and those people came back and told us.  Sadly I walked away, with more air let out of my balloon and a little more anger in my stomach. 

This is the way it continued all day, me going to my "planned" speakers, being rejected and forced to go to other speakers.  I became fairly angry and so did many of the other teachers, as they pushed and shoved their way to get the line they wanted to go to.  I felt like I had boiling bile in my stomach.

Finally, at the end of the day I went to my last speaker.  I got there 45 minutes early and just chilled outside.  I have to admit I had a very bad attitude at this point.  I was mad that I had to wait; I was mad that I didn't get to all of the speakers I wanted to go to; I was mad that my shoulder hurt from hauling around all of my stuff; I was mad about how food was not provided.  My attitude had turned really, really ugly.

When I was actually able to get in my last speaker I made sure to get to one of the front tables (I had learned the hard way that only the front tables at some of the events were able to handle items that you could use in your classroom).  I sat down at a table and was greeted by the most happy woman I had seen since the beginning of the conference.  There was no bitterness, no anger, no feeling of "angst" against anyone.  She just seemed to be a ray of sunshine at our table.  She spoke of her appreciation for the conference and talked in such a caring way about all of her students.

As her sunshine shined on my ugly attitude, I became embarassed.  What had I become?  Was I being a good witness for Christ?  I had probably seemed like anything but, as I walked around with a frown on my face.  It was in that moment that I was so overwhelmed with gratitude for having this woman put in path.  I just wished I had been around her earlier.  Inside I prayed to God to change my attitude, and thanked Him for this woman, who didn't even know what she had done.  So this week, I just thank God for all of the little reminders He puts in my life that help us hear His voice telling me to continue to come and follow Him.

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