Having taught for over ten years now, I’ve come to find that anything, and I mean anything can become a teachable moment. I’m constantly finding connections to things and ways to integrate them into both my curriculum and my parenting, but I’ve found that God is no different, and he uses moments, unexpected and unconventional as they may be, to do the same for us. There are hardly any “unusable” situations or scenarios that cannot bring us back to a sense of understanding the deeper connection to our lives as a whole. Even, I would argue … trapped farts in tiny cars.
This morning, as you might well imagine from my apt description … this was my scenario. My children and I were on our way to school, as usual, and as usual we were stuck between unpredictable, chaotic traffic patterns that had us spending way too much close-time to one another in my Mini Cooper. As if there wasn’t already an edge in the air, as the minutes unforgivingly ticked by, categorizing our arrival time into “by-some-miracle-only,” standing, my son decides that he can no longer possibly hold in his gas, and passes it – loudly. His sister, less than a foot away from him in the backseat, immediately shields herself from the inevitable, pungent onslaught about to overwhelm the five feet of squared space we share.
“You did that on purpose!” she accused, shirt pulled up over her mouth in a makeshift gas mask.
“I did not, I swear, I couldn’t hold it!” he defended, giggling like … well – a boy.
“Yes you did,” she insisted, “and now you owe us a quarter. It’s a family rule!”
Really laughing now, he replied, “I didn’t mean to trap us in my fart, and now you’re making me laugh and I’m gonna have to fart again!”
“Fifty cents!” she cried indignantly as another wave let loose.
Stuck with nothing but open windows of a slow-crawling car, and a full-blast vent that seemed to circulate more that eradicate, the day started with difficulty, to say the least. In that moment there was really nothing to do but sit in it, and slowly wait for the air to clear, and the opportunity to keep inching forward.
Though I didn’t realize it at the time, (possibly from oxygen deprivation) I really think that experience metaphorically paralleled the rest of my day. There were unforeseen technology glitches, attitude adjustments, and calendar conflicts to deal with. Nothing was easy or error-free … and more than once I wondered if my brain was stuck on some pre-set slow motion setting. There were tons of questions, emails, meetings, and expectations that, well – stunk to say the least! I was stretched a little thinner on time and energy than I had. But in it all, I caught myself laughing, realizing that just like in the car, there was nothing to do but sit in it, slowly wait for the air to clear, and find every opportunity to keep inching forward.
So thank you God for autocorrect, for five more minutes, and drive through Starbucks. Thank you for dishwashers that work, puppy kisses when I don’t deserve them, and scrambled egg dinners. Thank you for functioning dysfunctional families and students who think I’m hilarious (whether I’m trying to be or not). Thank you for phone calls from mothers, texts from brothers, and giving me a husband as exhausted as I am to live in this whirlwind with me. Thank you God, for little boys in tiny cars, fifty cents, in mason jars, and all the perspective they bring.
Praying for your tomorrow, and frankly mine as well. Find a way to laugh through it.