Today, as I was on my break (those who are teachers will find that term laughable), I came upon one of our special needs students who was outside enjoying the beautiful sunshine with his teacher. As soon as he saw me, he called out "Thank you" and held out what could best be described as a broken weed. Of course, I went over to him to say good morning and he called out again, "Thank you." I reached to take the weed he offered and he gave it, then reached for it again all the while saying "Thank you." The smile on this child's face was so peaceful, I was quite captivated. His teacher smiled that loving smile I see so often on her face as she works with these little ones and she said, "That's all he knows how to say."
I watched as this angel dressed in everyday clothes walked back and forth between his teacher and me saying "thank you" and alternating between giving and receiving that broken weed. His teacher and I talked for a moment and he smiled and toddled tirelessly between the two of us. His teacher said, "He could do that all day." I'm sure he had no idea how much joy he was sharing with each "thank you."
As we ended our conversation, I laughingly commented that perhaps he could come and teach my 5th graders a thing or two...but as I turned to continue on my way to the office I thought perhaps it was ME that needed to be taught.
How often do I complain when life hands me less than what I think I deserve? How often have I grumbled to God and all those around me when life wasn't "fair"? How often have I spewed negative words into my situations because I had to wait longer than I wanted for my turn? And let's be honest...most of my grumbling and complaining isn't because of some great trial; it's because I've been inconvenienced in some way. When traffic doesn't go fast enough for me, (usually cause I'm running late), or someone does things differently than I think they should be done, or - let's be truthful - someone gets the credit for something that I feel like I should be noticed for....I go and throw myself a two year old fit! How dare life not go my way! How many times have I been unhappy with the broken weed I've been given... and how many times has the peace that this child had escaped me?
We all know that the Bible tells us to give thanks in all things - not for them mind you, but in them. We can do this because we know that God works all things for our good and His glory in those that love Him and are called according to His purpose. I know there will be times when I need to cry out to the Lord or to my brothers and sisters in Christ....there is no shame in being honest about our feelings, but I don't need to set up camp there. I need to take my broken weed, look up, and move on.
Lord, help me remember this child's face and the peace and joy he expressed each time he said "thank you." Help me to remember that life will hand me broken weeds at times, but I don't have to be bitter or grumble and complain. Help me to live each day able only to say two words....thank you.
Thank you, Lord....thank you.