At the end of every school day
I glance over at this scene.
Sometimes I will sit and observe,
catching little changes.
Other times, I will simply breathe a thanks to God
that this is the setting across from my car
and not the urban apartments and restaurants
of my previous school assignment.
In the mornings, I'm usually in too big a hurry
to appreciate this land.
But almost always at late afternoon,
I savor the beauty.
I have been dealing all year with the results of mean talk;
of the destructive force of criticism and gossip.
I finally quit eating lunch in the teacher's lounge,
because I felt that the very air I breathed was toxic.
So many awful words tumble from teachers' mouths
in that room every day.
I felt God directing me to my room --
to a brief trip away in a good book--
and I have experienced a difference in my attitude most days.
Because of the unusual schedules this week
due to testing
and extended days to make up a calamity day,
I ended up eating three days in there.
The third day one of my friends was criticized.
She's the guidance counselor
and had made an 'executive' decision
concerning make-ups of the test.
The criticism flowed at first.
I have learned from experience
that me speaking up
only makes the situation worse--
not just for me,
but for the person I'm defending.
However, I squirmed and looked intently at my food.
I don't know what vibe I put off,
but the criticism of Diane
the topic was changed.
They know we're close friends,
but I think they forgot I was there.
As soon as my presence really registered,
the cutting words abruptly halted.
The next day, I was back in my room.
If I thought my continual presence would change them,
I'd 'tough' it out,
but I don't.
Instead, the rest of my day was trashed,
which is not beneficial to my students or to my health.
Look at the photo below.
The fence is broken and lays in ruins in the middle.
But out of the ruins and debris
rises this beautiful tree.
Such is how our lives should be as Christians.
That is very difficult for me at times.
But when I'm obeying God and doing His bidding,
the difference is overwhelming.
That leads me to the Psalm of the week.
Read the words carefully.
I found a message there for me.
I hope it ministers to you also.
I WILL sing of mercy and loving-kindness and justice;
to You, O Lord, will I sing.
I will behave myself wisely and give heed to the blameless way--
O when will You come to Me?
I will walk within my house in integrity
and with a blameless heart.
I will set no base or wicked thing before my eyes.
I hate the work of them who turn aside [from the right path];
it shall not grasp hold of me.
A perverse heart shall depart from me;
I will know no evil person or thing.
Whoso privily slanders his neighbor,
him will I cut off [from me];
he who has a haughty look and a proud and arrogant heart
I cannot and I will not tolerate.
My eyes shall [look with favor]
upong the faithful of the land,
that they may dwell with me;
he who walks blamelessly,
he shall minister to me.
He who works deceit shall not dwell in my house;
he who tells lies shall not continue in my presence.
Morning after morning I will root up all the wicked in the land,
that I may eliminate all the evil doers from the city of the Lord.
(I take this last verse to mean
that I eliminate their influence from my life on a daily basis.)
Blessings to you all as you enjoy your weekend.