When I was young, maybe in middle school, I remember telling my mom that I had prayed to God to give me patience. She said, “You don’t want to do that.” I asked, “Why not?” She said, “Because then God is going to give you a lot of opportunities to grow your patience.”
Last week I confessed to God and the world that I want to change how I view myself. Instead of seeing myself as lazy, I want to know and believe that I am a hard worker. Instead of seeing myself as a failure every time I make a mistake, I want to keep things in perspective, apologize, and move forward.
Here are some things that happened this past week.
A student dumped my water bottle all over my laptop, putting it out of commission. It is currently seeing its second technician. This was technically my fault because I left an open water bottle between my computer and a line of first graders.
Our electric pencil sharpener stopped working. This might not seem like a catastrophe, but in a first grade classroom, it is. It had just been knocked down too many times, I suppose. Since I’m the one who knocked it down the most and I’m the one who let first graders shove their pencils into it repeatedly over the past month, this is probably my fault, too.
On Wednesday in an attempt to handle a sparking outlet, I flipped some of the breaker switches. In doing so I accidentally and unknowlingly flipped one of the breakers loose, disconnecting the inverter from its power source. For two days we were running the invertor instead of city electricity which meant the inverter used up all its batteries and left us with no power on Friday evening.
On Thursday I did my full time job from 7:30am-3:30pm, my second job from 4:30pm-6:00pm, then went to parent/teacher conferences from 6:30-8:00pm. Nothing went wrong, it was just a very long day. And since I wasn’t able to do my third job on Thursday, I had to work from 7-9pm Friday night.
Yesterday morning I borrowed a friend’s car and drove it down the mountain with the emergency brake on. About 20 minutes into the ride, the brakes went out and I hit a Claro (phone and internet company) truck and ladder, and scraped (so barely scraped) another vehicle. Fortunately we were on level ground and everyone was okay. This could have been so much worse and praise God, it wasn’t. Obviously there was an issue with the brakes, but I also failed to disengage the emergency brake before driving the car.
When I finally got home FIVE hours after the accident, one of my dogs had somehow found horse poop to roll around in and stunk to high heaven. This one wasn’t my fault (that I know of) but it was kind of the cherry on top of the week.
Since Friday night I’ve had a sore throat and perpetually runny nose.
Okay so I want to stop seeing myself as lazy. This week I solved my problems and other people’s problems. I saw my students succeed. I literally worked myself sick. I must be a hard worker.
Okay so I want to stop assuming I am a failure after making one mistake. This week I made SO MANY MISTAKES. Mistakes that caused some major inconveniences in not just my life, but the lives of others. And I hold myself responsible for those mistakes, I do. I have apologized to those who deserve apologies and I have thought carefully about how to avoid making these same mistakes in the future. AND THEN I HAVE MOVED ON.
I realized yesterday sitting in a borrowed car with two flat tires on the side of the road that when beating myself up for making a mistake doesn’t actually help anyone. I looked at the people around me and realized that nobody was mad at me. We were all just grateful the accident wasn’t worse. I thought that I could sit there and beat myself up, call myself a failure, convince myself that I’m not fit to drive a car, but what would that solve? It wouldn’t take us back in time so I could switch off the emergency brake, which might not have even changed anything. It wouldn’t change the current situation. It would just make me sad and mad and unpleasant to be around.
So I apologized, made a huge mental note to always check the e-brake before driving a car, confessed to the owner of the car everything, went to the police station, gave my very simple statement (I hit the brakes and nothing happened so I ran into the Claro truck and then another vehicle.), and moved on.
I’m so grateful that God took me seriously when I asked for help and growth in this area. I’m grateful for clarity that says, “If you weren’t trying so hard to prove to yourself that you’re not lazy, maybe you’d slow down enough to avoid making some of these mistakes.”
I’m grateful to all of the people in my life who are helpful and loving. A friend called me yesterday evening just to check in and make sure I was okay! My roommate, Sarah, washed my sheets and towels without me even mentioning it! The owner of the car was positive and encouraging and forgiving. So many people stepped up to help me solve problems this week and didn’t think twice about it.
So even with all of the crap that has happened this week, I look forward to this coming week so, so grateful, and that much more like the woman I was meant to be.