SIT DOWN, PLEASE!
The Teachers on the Bus…
“What about the teachers on the bus?” Five-year-old Kevin’s high-pitched voice piped up as we finished our rendition of “The Wheels on the Bus” song. Our English class of Chinese and Korean kindergarten students had already been through the obligatory “babies on the bus,” “mothers on the bus”, and “fathers on the bus.” But the sharp little boy didn’t want anyone to be left out.
Smiling gently at Kevin, I asked, “Well, what do the teachers on the bus say?” Cocking his head to one side and making a downward motion with his palms, he sang out in a sugary-sweet voice, “Sit down, please!” I couldn’t believe it. He nailed me. It was EXACTLY the way I always said it!
Behind my big smiles, however, the daily pressures and stress of a very busy life in East Asia were starting to take a toll on me. Long hours of teaching, cultural misunderstandings, team conflicts, physical weariness, homesickness, and loneliness – but I tried to keep it all pushed down and hidden from view.
Eventually even my adorable kindergarten students started getting on my nerves. “Teacher, I have to go to the bathroom!” “Teacher, she’s touching me!” “Teacher, he took my pencil!” It never stopped. “Teacher…” “TEACHER!”
Forcing a smile, I took deep breaths and tried to keep my voice cheerful. “Sit down, please! Be quiet, please. Stop talking, please. Sit down, please…”
One day something inside me snapped. Before I knew it, I exploded in rage, “BE QUIET!!!!”
What’s In Your Wellspring?
Shocked into silence, the students stared at me wide-eyed. They had never seen me get angry. And so I was immediately stricken with guilt. It wasn’t their fault that I was on edge.
Proverbs 4:23 warns, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life” (NRSV). I hadn’t been guarding my heart, and so I’d allowed the small daily pressures to slowly poison my wellspring. When my students’ complaints and questions started to “bump” me, the building anger finally spilled out. Apologizing to my students, I was forced to examine my heart and begin to resolve these issues.
What’s in your wellspring? Is your heart being poisoned by unresolved issues of hurt, offense, and loss? Are daily irritations and frustrations building to a point of explosion? Ask the Holy Spirit to help you identify those areas that need to be cleansed and healed so you can have a pure spring of LIFE flowing from the depths of your heart!
“The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45 (NIV 1984)