I remember a life-changing moment in my junior year of high school. It was in Mrs. White’s English class. For some sadistic reason, she seemed to enjoy embarrassing some of her “less popular” students by degrading them in front of the class. And, being in that group, I became one of those recipients.
She had her favorites...football players, cheerleaders, drama club members…”teacher’s pets” as we called them back then. And they could do no wrong. By the way, I was in gymnastics and could perform a perfect cartwheel, but I guess she wasn’t a fan of gymnastics. Anyway, you get the picture.
But there was this one day. A brief moment in that English class that still to this day, brings a smile moving over me with a breeze of greatness…recognition…significance! Looking back, I realize that the brief moment of victory actually began as a challenge from Mrs. White.
She assigned a book report on the life of King Arthur. We were to pick out a “recurring theme” and write about the significance of that theme. My fear of Mrs. White’s public disapproval caused me to dig deeper into the symbolism and tap into my source of brilliance (yeah…right!) This life-changing paper would transcend time, challenge the masses, alter the course of history! Wait a minute…I’m getting a little carried away here…I know it’s just a paper, but when C- is the highest grade so far…well, one can only dream, right? The number 3 seemed to jump off the pages. Wow…how easy to write about such a familiar theme—people, places, and events all revolving around this number! Now the real test, will Mrs. White like it?
The day of reckoning. Mrs. White began handing out our graded papers. As she strolled up and down each row of students handing out their papers, she came to me…paused…let out a “humph” as in disgust…and tossed the paper on my desk! A second pause…(waiting on my reaction). An A-! It was big…in red ink…and an A-! Checking the name…yep, that’s me…that’s my paper! What can I say. I was in shock! In my head, the band was playing, crowds were cheering, fireworks! (give me a second, I’m reliving the moment!)
Looking up, she gave me a wink and moved on. Though brief, that moment still affects me today, realizing that Mrs. White was not the enemy, but a catalyst. A challenge causing me to look deep inside and pull out something I didn’t know I had. Mrs. White knew I had it in me even though I didn’t. All it took was a “little push”. And now, when those challenges come, my tendency sometimes is to…deny (not my fault)…delegate (it’s his/her fault)…or duck (curl up in a ball and retreat, doing nothing)! But I’ve come to realize… that “little push” comes from a loving, omniscient heavenly Father who knows our weaknesses, our deepest needs, and our greatest strengths. He is always with us…leading us to a better place, His will.
“For it is God who is at work in you, to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose.” Philippians 2:13