I shall not fall into the falsehood that this day, or any day, is merely another ambiguous and plodding twenty-four hours, but rather a unique event, filled, if I so wish, with worthy potentialities. I shall not be fool enough to suppose that trouble and pain are wholly evil parentheses in my existence, but just as likely ladders to be climbed toward moral and spiritual manhood. –Clyde Kilby
On Wednesday morning I left for work much later than usual. I am always one of the first people at school, but for some reason on Wednesday I took my time in the morning and made it to school right on time instead of an hour and a half early. It was nice to have the sun already halfway up when I stepped into the car. Usually I’m getting to see the first rays of morning as I drive. This later sunrise was gorgeous–there was even a tiny half-formed rainbow. It was worth being scatter-brained during first period just because of the glory of that sunrise.
It’s easy in the car, listening to my favorite music, watching a beautifully unique sunrise, to think of this day as being full of “worthy potentialities.” Somehow, though, when I unlock the door of my classroom all of those “potentialities” melt away and I am left with what seems to be another “plodding and ambiguous” day. It would seem to be an easy fix–just change your mindset and your approach to each day. But have you ever tried to change your entire paradigm for handling a difficult day? It’s tough!
On Thursday and Friday I tried to remember as I walked to my desk and looked at my to-do list that the day before me was as unique as the sunrise I had just witnessed. I would be filled with inspiration for a few moments, and then lose it all when my students walked into the room already fussing with each other. I think this is when relying on Christ becomes the most important thing I can do all day. Maybe my prayer should not have been, Lord, change my heart about these days, make me see them as worthwhile and full of opportunities. That’s a great prayer, I just don’t think it asks the right question. It asks for instant change, for a radically different mindset at 6:00 in the morning.
Maybe my prayer should have been, Lord, you have made these next 24 hours unique and beautiful. Go with me in every hour and show me the opportunities I have to glorify You. When I forget and return to plodding or complaining, show me how foolish it is to believe that this day is just an “evil parentheses.” Show me instead that by relying on You in even my most frustrating and ambiguous moments that you are merely pushing me up another rung on the ladder “toward moral and spiritual manhood.”