I was in the 3rd grade and had realized my mistake almost as soon as I had 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
I told her everything, dramatically replaying the scene and expecting sympathy
But she wasn't moved
She just looked at me and said
"Tondra, it's Mr. Gagan... just ask for a new bulb"
As her words began to sink in, my fears melted
"Oh yeah", I remembered and wondered 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 future work with children
He simply handed me a new bulb with a smile and said "Be careful, okay?"
and that was it
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 just the other day
as I read and re-read posts from blogger Gary Morland
who writes about family
and explains the difference between leading with...
I had another light bulb moment
as I paused to reflect over
my work with children
and once again I heard this admonition...
"Be careful with your light. You will not get another"
So this time I ask for God's grace to
with gratitude and grace
hold onto my mini light bulb
appreciating it because its what I've got
...and I know that I will not get another