Teaching Moments

22 10 2010

I hear a lot about ‘teaching moments’ and how I’m supposed to take advantage of them in order to do the following (and much more, probably): teach my children about life, build their character, plan for a bright future, and save the earth.

What I don’t hear so much of (possibly because they think they already know everything) are teaching moments adults go through.

I had one this week. On Wednesday, to be exact.

Wednesdays are my dreaded days, where I feel like I wake up in the morning and rush around until I go to bed at night. I really hate days like that, and the fact it comes around once every week makes me complain about it on Facebook. [Note to Mom: See, all you are missing out on is how much I’m not looking forward to Wednesday, how much I hate Wednesday, and how happy I am I survived another Wednesday. Boring.]

Anyway, on a typical Wednesday I have about three hours between where I get the last kid off to school and where I have to go to school myself, after which the entire day is chock-full of dance, scouts, and activity days, necessitating a ridiculous amount of hoops to hop through to ensure each child is where they are supposed to be. At the right time, even! It’s asking a lot. 

On Sunday, then, when they passed around the sign-up for the Bishop’s Storehouse, I honestly do not know what possessed me to commit to helping on Wednesday morning. In the spirit of I-don’t-think-I-have-anything-else-going-on, I somehow forgot I still had five drawings to do for my sketchbook, along with two other finished drawings of a still life located in the classroom. I had planned on using my Wednesday morning to go to the studio and get a handle on them while I still could.

I noticed the slip of paper in my scriptures on Tuesday. Tomorrow? I thought. What was I thinking? When will I be able to finish those drawings if not Wednesday morning?

I was mad at myself for committing when I didn’t have the time. Now I would either have to flake out on the Storehouse assignment or not have time to do my homework–both options were distasteful. However (what’s that old hymn?)–“God moves in a mysterious way, his wonders to perform.”

I have a testimony of service, especially of its load-lightening qualities. I knew if I went to the Storehouse I would have a lighter load. I got myself together as best as was possible (skipped showering and other non-essentials) and headed over to the Storehouse as soon as child #4 was on the bus. Everything was in full swing, since I had come late due to the school bus schedule. I helped a couple of brethren from my stake prepare a pallet of goods to be shipped to South Tacoma. We finished in 20 minutes.

I went to sign out, then, feeling bad I hadn’t been able to be there right on time and thus help more. Just as I was doing so, a lady asked if I wanted to stock shelves. “Of course,” I said. “Point me in the right direction and I’ll do it.”

Turns out, the lady filling the produce orders needed some help with the lifting. She was the sister missionary in charge and had fallen off a ladder (17 feet!) previously and hurt her shoulder. I hefted boxes and weighed oranges and broccoli. I counted out cantaloupes and cauliflower. We got it done.

I was there only an hour total, but I learned some things I needed to know.

Due to some changing circumstances in my life, I’m no longer going to be able to be a stay-at-home mom. This terrifies me. I’m not afraid of work, but I haven’t been out in the workforce for over ten years. Just the “getting a job” part scares me spitless. Working in the storehouse reminded me that I’m a good worker. I can take instruction. I can do things quickly and efficiently.

I also remembered how much I like work. It’s not that I haven’t worked (as any stay-at-home mom could tell you), but it’s a different kind of work when you are at home. A never-ending kind of work. People are always eating and wearing clothes and other annoying habits like that, so there’s never a ‘done’. At a job, you actually finish things. Then you move on. I like that; I’m excited for it.

Finally, I learned something I already knew, but apparently needed to be reminded of: the Lord will take care of me. When I put Him first, even when it seems impossible, He is able to make things fit–even if it’s making the day expand so there is room enough to both go to the Storehouse and finish my homework.

I’m so blessed.