Today in church, Andy preached on the importance of listening to the little voices that change our lives. I'm paraphrasing a little. Andy is Dr. Andrew McClurg, one of our elders. He preached from II Kings about Naaman being healed and hearing about who to go to from a little girl. And I would say that we need to consider our sphere of influence when we look at talking to people about Jesus or the people we model Jesus to.
Yesterday, I was leaving the store after spending too much. This man, looked at me and pointed at me. I didn't recognize him at all. He said, "I know you... from school." Could it be that this man was one of my former students? I looked at him closer. Let's call him Richie. I said his name and he looked shocked that I would remember. He was one of my earlier babies. I did the math and he had to be in his late twenties, early thirties. Back then, he had a fuller face and he wasn't as tall. I remember his fingers and his hands. They were best described as grubby. He liked to work on things with his hands. He lived with his grandmother who raised him. He was prone to anger issues.
There was an incident where a police officer had him in handcuffs after a display of aggressive behavior. He was in the school and I was called in. I remember asking the policeman to remove the cuffs. This officer told me that he feared for my safety. I remember looking at Richie and telling this concerned man that my student would not hurt me. I was left alone with this hurt boy and he listened to me as I talked him through exercises that would calm him. He would come to me to work on some of those strategies. I would tell him to stay in school. I talked to him about a plan to finish school.
Yesterday, he told me that he would be returning to prison. Janet was with me. I was like, "Oh no!" He said, "I'm a grown man. I made my choices but I should have listened to you. I should have finished school." I looked at this man and I could see the boy he once was. I can't tell you the pain I felt. It feels like I failed him. I am reminded that I may make a difference in the lives of the children that I work with. Their lives are in the balance and I am the one to love them with the love of Jesus. I looked at him and I told him that I would pray for him. I didn't know what else to say or do. "I will pray for you, Richie." These were the last words I said before Janet and I turned to find David. "Prison?" she asked. I was on the verge of tears, "Pray for him." I told her.
I heard someone say, "God, break my heart for what breaks Yours." I didn't pray this, but I feel it. Tomorrow I will go into my job and look at my students just a little more differently. I will look at my children differently. These are the people that I work with within my sphere. In turn, I will allow myself to be blessed by people. Today, I held Beanie. He's a 1 year old. He leaned on me and then he laughed. Have you ever had a happy beautiful toddler lean on you? For a moment, you are his world. Such a blessing!!! Be blessed, Friends. Be blessed and be a blessing. You won't find your sense of purpose looking in your own heart. This is coming right from Dr. McClurg. Thank you, Andy. Praise the Lord!!!