Stupid Pumpkins

I woke up this morning truly missing writing.  I haven’t written in this blog since the spring.  I haven’t really even written in my journal for a month.  It may not seem like a big deal to some, but to anyone that journals your most personal prayers and writes for release you will understand.  I stopped early this morning and tried to figure out why.  As I did, oddly enough a very old memory came to mind.

One day in first grade my teacher, Mrs. Matthews, had given us a worksheet with pumpkins on them.  She had given verbal directions regarding the way we needed to color those pumpkins that had overridden the actual written directions on the paper as she passed them out.  I didn’t know this because I wasn’t listening.  I was too impatient.  As soon as I had the paper in front of me I read the directions and colored those pumpkins.  Row one – color two purple pumpkins. Row two – color four red pumpkins.  Row three – color one green pumpkin.

I was coloring beautifully, staying in the lines, so proud of myself.  Mrs. Matthews walked up to my desk, took the paper from me, gave me another worksheet and told me to “listen next time”.  She walked away.  What?  What had I missed?  I looked around thinking she must be crazy.  Needless to say, since I had been so intent on following the paper in front of me instead of hearing the voice from across the room speaking to me explaining that she wanted all of the pumpkins simply colored orange for a cut and paste activity, I was lost.  So, in confusion, but with determination, I again picked up the purple, red, and green crayons and went to work.  I never even made it to row three this time.  Mrs. Matthews walked over, picked up the paper and said, “Kimberly, go sit in the hall.  Next time you might choose to listen so you will know what to do.”

OK, sitting in the hall in the ‘old days’ was pretty harsh.  In elementary school every kid knew the principle walked the halls just waiting for kids to have to explain why they were outside the classroom instead of inside. I NEVER had to sit in the hall.  What was wrong with my teacher?  Did she not like me? All over some stupid pumpkins.

It makes me laugh that this story is the one that came to mind this morning. It is funny that something that happened 35 years ago can still come to mind as if it happened yesterday.  It’s not so funny though how often I find myself living life like this, especially in seasons that are full of chaos, busyness, hardships, and uncertain future paths.

I find myself so busy trying to just get things done, just take care of those I love, just following the directions and expectations of myself and everyone around me that many times I forget the most important thing…

to listen…especially to the One that matters most.

I think this is why I have stopped writing.  You have to listen to hear…to hear yourself think, and most importantly to hear the Lord speak.  I have stopped being still enough and quiet enough to listen.  I have felt I haven’t had time to write.  Or even worse, I haven’t listened enough to even know what to write, and sometimes even pray.  I have stopped listening to a lot of things that really matter.  It is time to stop planning, stop doing, and just listen again.  

In the words of a very wise woman, “You have to choose to listen to know what to do.”  

Oh, the things we can learn from a first grade teacher.

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