I was sick and tired, literally.

And it was Friday afternoon. 

I was a few minutes away from the end of my last lecture for
the week, just digging in to the part where I talk about my personal connection
with the text.

A few minutes earlier, during a brief break between
lectures, I talked with my husband about my oldest son’s fourth strep diagnosis
since November.  Thoughts of specialists,
surgery and possible hospitalization swirled in my head. 

Did I mention I was sick? 
And losing my voice?  Sipping
scalding hot tea between sentences I relished the burning liquid that rendered
my throat numb for a few precious seconds of relief.

Looking up from my outline I saw them.  Back row, middle seats, directly in my line
of vision.  She leaned over his desk,
they giggled and passed a paper between. 
Continuing to speak I watched as she started writing on the shared
paper.  I had a quick memory of the
notebook passed between a friend and I during a year’s worth of Spanish classes, page
after page of words scrawled in large loopy letters. 

Thoughts about the application of the Hebrew bible’s
prophetic texts stopped mid-sentence and I blurted, “Really?!  Passing notes?!  This is college, people!”

This is what it must be like to be an extrovert – words
flying out unfiltered, unmeasured.

They both looked up, startled.  The rest of the class halted, confused. 

Then he did the worst thing possible, well, two of the worst
things possible. 

First he shrugged his shoulders his hands thrown out to the
Not a word was spoken, but his
body said it all, What’s your problem, lady?

His gesture added fuel to my fury and I prodded, “What?  That’s what you’re doing, isn’t it?  I can see you.”

Then he blamed the girl, threw her under the bus in his own

Oh, for shame. 

They were Adam and Eve, caught, in the garden and I was an
angry God. 

I stared in disbelief, astounded at his defense, not the
nature of it, but that he had the nerve at all to stand up before me, that he
didn’t hang his head in shame.

I was done.  I looked
at the clock. 

“Ok,” I said, “We’re taking a break.  We’ll come back together at 3:15.” 

I abruptly left the room, tea cup in hand.  Students sat stunned. 

I sank into a chair in the dark teacher’s lounge. 

This wasn’t the first time I snapped at students in the
classroom – sleeping students, texting students, silent students who refused to
throw their teacher a line.  But it was
the first time I had sense enough to call a time out, to send myself to a quiet
corner to reflect on my behavior. 

I sat in silence and a few tears, the ones I’d felt lurking
all day long, sprang to the corners of my eyes. 
Rather than blaming the students who were, by the way, just acting their
age, I looked into my own soul.  I saw someone
who was trying awfully hard to meet nobody’s expectations but her own. 

The truth is, I’m the kind of person who snaps, like a
little dog, when cornered.  And I felt
cornered that day – by fatigue, by sickness and the demands of parenting and my
own high teaching expectations.  My
self-imposed time out allowed me to see my snapping as an invitation to grace
and compassion.   

I decided to throw myself a line. 

After my time out I went back to the class and finished the
lecture.  We moved on, together, until
our time was up.  Then I went home and
recommitted myself to all the ways I know work best to keep myself from feeling
cornered.  Mainly, I lowered my standards
and got some rest.  I served myself up a
healthy dose of compassion, so the next time someone near me needed grace,
there’d be more than enough to go around.

*   *   *

We finally have a #SmallWonder button!  If you want to use it, simply copy the image, then add it to your post or sidebar with a link to www.afieldofwildflowers.blogspot.com.  

Are you or do you have writer friends local to the PA, Maryland, New Jersey area?  If so, would you consider attending or sharing the information about the upcoming writing retreat to be held here at the farm house?  You can find more details under the Writing Retreat tab.

Welcome to the #SmallWonder link-up.  

What if we chose to deliberately look for the small moments of wonder, the small sparks of presence, of delight or sorrow, of true humanity in which we meet God? 

That’s my proposal – that we gather here each week to share one moment of Wonder from each of our days.  

You’re invited to link-up a brief post about a small moment of wonder.  Don’t worry if your post is too long, too short, or not just right – you’re welcome to come as you are.  

While you’re here, please do take a look around and encourage at least one other blogger with a comment.   

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