I hate it when I wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Before the kids got up this morning, as my husband and I shared coffee, he queried about the angry look on my face. I was shocked. I was deep in thought, but didn’t think that I was scowling. In the anticipation of an extremely busy day ahead, the negative tapes were already playing in my head. One of my tasks would be to walk between three drop spots for a canned food drive on campus – in the freezing cold for about thirty minutes – round and round and round again. I don’t have great physical stamina, and I live in Louisiana for a reason. I hate the cold! I had forgotten the advice I had given my college age son just a week and a half ago, when he was stressing over his new semester workload – just stay in the moment, son. Don’t get ahead of yourself!
When I pulled up in the parking lot at work, I immediately hit the ground running. I can do two things at once, as all women can – but when a third and fourth demand for time is thrown in there, I crumble. This kind of pressure does not bring out the best in me. In fact, it brings out the worst. By the time I prepared to teach my first period class, I was grouchy. Knowing this, I made a conscious effort to be patient with the kids who were counting on me. The challenges and difficulties kept coming, and I felt my tolerance slipping right out the door.
I pulled up the gospel of the day on USCCB.org to read to the children. I like to read Sunday’s gospel to them and discuss it on Fridays, so that they are prepared for mass for the upcoming weekend. This is what we read:
Jesus said to his disciples:
“You are the salt of the earth.
But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned?
It is no longer good for anything
but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
You are the light of the world.
A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.
Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket;
it is set on a lampstand,
where it gives light to all in the house.
Just so, your light must shine before others,
that they may see your good deeds
and glorify your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5: 13-16
Wow! Was God speaking to me in that moment! I was like salt that had lost its taste in a whirlwind of activity. The light that I usually had in my eyes, and the warmth I held in my heart has been hidden by a bushel basket of aggravation and fatigue. I was allowing the world to hide that spark that God put inside of me. The last line was the clincher! If I failed to change my attitude – to stop that negativity festering inside – I would not be bringing others to Christ with my actions, and would certainly not be giving glory to God. Despair, frustration, anger – none of those things come from our Father. In order to be a light to my little world at work, I would have to allow God to illuminate the darkness that had overtaken me.
As we prayed, I asked God to change my attitude – to lift the basket that was snuffing out the light within. Praise be to God, He did. The rest of the day was still very busy and demanding, but I had a new mindset, and He made all of the difference!