A few days ago this story was in my box at school. Someone had given a copy of it to all the teachers in the school. "Haunting Words to Inspire Every Teacher"- "It happened to them." The story relays an experience that a teacher had years ago when she was still just in grad school. She walked in on a conversation in the teacher's lounge. It was pretty much a gripe session, in which teachers took turns recalling the horrors they have faced and the students that have terrorized them. In the midst of their rantings, those haunting words were spoken by an observing teacher. It happened to them.
Properly titled, these words have been haunting me. Since I read them they have been popping into my head at random times. Our first day of school was just last week. Afterward, I was having a conversation with a fellow teacher and we got onto the topic of my student teaching experience. It was, at times, really challenging. And I found myself starting to sound like the other teachers in the story. The words, now in my head, would not leave. I quickly changed my tune. Instead of recounting my hardships, I told of how my sweet students had a tough year with very serious challenges of their own.
Then days later, I was driving home from my brother's house. He lives about 40 minutes away from me. Just 10 minutes into the drive I was delayed. Traffic came to a halt and proceeded only in short stop and go bursts. I quickly became annoyed. I was beyond tired and just wanted to go home. I was no mood for going nowhere. Then once again the words popped into my head. It happened to them. Here I am thinking about how obnoxious it is to hold in the clutch every ten seconds, and there, a few yards up the road people are truly suffering. I thought about the people injured in whatever accident had taken place, their families, and the police officers and EMTs putting their lives in harms way. This was a few extra minutes on my commute. But for them it was the next few hours, days, weeks, months and years. How selfish I had been to think only of myself, when really it happened to them. Not me. My attitude changed instantly. Rather than getting upset and wasting my energy yelling at the unmoving cars in front of me, I began to pray for all those who had been impacted by the evenings unfortunate events. I am so grateful for the sweet reminder of those haunting words.
So many times we tend to think only of ourselves, seeing only our perspective. It is easy to ignore the pain of others, but it really shouldn't be.
I hope you take the time to read the article, and perhaps let the words inspire you for a while.