Having Eyes That See (Life Lessons That Brought Me Closer to God)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Light Bulb Moment

I was in the 3rd grade and realized my mistake almost as soon as I made it

My class was doing a science experiment with mini light bulbs
and as we prepared for recess our teacher reminded us...

"Be careful with your light. 
If you break it, you will not get another"

I heard him loud and clear and was

determined to be responsible
focused on being responsible

(but then it was time to go outside and play
and just that quickly I forgot about responsibility)

I set the tiny bulb down onto my desk

and watched
as it rolled

(in slow motion)

off of the desk and
onto the floor

(shattering into pieces)

My heart sank and I looked around to see if anyone had noticed, but everyone
was already heading out of the classroom so I picked up my shattered pieces
and dropped them into the waste basket on my way out of the room

I was so distraught that I couldn't even enjoy the recess that I had so anticipated
and it must have been written all over my face because my best friend looked at me and asked

"What's wrong?"

I told her everything

(dramatically replaying the scene and expecting sympathy)

but she wasn't moved
and instead just looked at me

and said

"Tondra, it's Mr. Gagan... just ask for a new bulb"

And as her words began to sink in, my fears melted...

I remembered and

what I had been so worried about

After all

I had the best teacher
who held my best interest

and a best friend to remind me...

that he wouldn't get mad at me
he couldn't get mad at me

I was eight and had simply made a mistake

Once back in the classroom, I walked up to his desk taking a deep breath as I explained
"I'm sorry, I accidently dropped my light bulb"

He looked up at me, and in that defining moment, forever impacted

my life
my outlook
my future work with children

He simply handed me a new bulb with a smile and said "Be careful, okay?"

and that was it

no questions
no reprimands
no "I-told-you-so"

none of those things

Just a smile... and a provision

It was the perfect light bulb moment
and I have never really known how to express that moment until the other day

I had another light bulb moment
as I paused to reflect over

my childhood
my family
my work with children

and once again heard this admonition...

"Be careful with your light.  You will not get another"

So I ask for grace...

a smile and a provision

as I

slow down
stay focused
not rush

and hold onto my mini light bulb

appreciating it
and knowing...

I will not get another


  1. You were the cutest little 3rd grader ever! Great post and great reminder on how to deal with our kids and mistakes...and how to live out our lives for God now.

  2. Awww, thank you! I am truly blessed and actually amazed that I am STILL learning from my 3rd grade teacher!! He is awesome and God is awesome.