As is true with most things in life, it took a little bit of effort to get it going. I would keep at it for a few days, then just be too tired and forget about it for several days, then pick it up again. Well, finally yesterday I gained a great testimony of how valuable it can be as a method to process through my day and see difficult things in a new light.
Yesterday was not the best day. I didn't get up to exercise and as a result didn't feel very successful with any of the things that I had planned to do in the morning (you know, read about my dissertation, read more about my dissertation, listen to music for my dissertation, read about my dissertation...) and wasn't in a very good mood. As I get to voice lessons, one of my students seems particularly worried about the things I am teaching and I get the sense that this student doesn't trust me as a teacher. I keep thinking to myself "You're the one who is paying me! Why don't you listen to what I have to say?" Later I go to my class and notice halfway through class that one of my students seems to be particularly upset about the grading that I just handed back and my heart absolutely broke. While I was somewhat challenging in my response to this student, my intent was to help the student see how to improve and where to focus effort. I felt horrible that my intention to motivate had actual led to the exact opposite. It distracted me for several minutes while I tried to keep the class moving. Needless to say I was very tired and frustrated (mostly with myself) by the time I got home. Why wasn't I able to say the right things to get this student to trust me? Why had my attempts to motivate led to discouragement instead?
When it came time to write my journal yesterday evening, I thought that I would focus on a wonderful wife. When I came home she listened ever so patiently as I unloaded about my day, tried to help me see things from a different perspective, and made a FANTASTIC dinner that really made the whole day of frustration worth it since I got to come home to a loving, supportive, smart wife.
Then the Spirit started to talk to me: "Did you notice how you didn't blow up at your voice student, that you were given the right things to say to get that student to listen to you, and that by the end of the lesson the student had made some real progress?" No, I had forgotten all about that. I bet the student will be a lot more willing to go with things next week now that there is evidence of some progress. "Did you notice how it worked out that you ran into the student in your conducting class afterwards so that you could find out that the student was having a bad day because of other things? Didn't you think that I let you notice that student so that you could go talk later and show the student some much-needed concern?" Wow, I never thought about the role I would play as teacher who is building people and not just students.
I remember driving home from work one particularly cloudy afternoon. As I looked up over the mountains I noticed this one patch of brilliant blue in the midst of all of the clouds. I couldn't take my eyes off of it. It was so bright and clear (much better than the usual hazy blue that one gets looking through clouds) that it changed my whole perspective on the rest of the cloudy sky. Instead of being an "overcast day" I thought about this one spot of brilliantly blue sky.
Its amazing how finding (hunting, scraping up) one ray of light in what seemed like a very cloudy day gives you just enough light to see the silver-lining.
What are you grateful for today?