Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Every Dark Cloud has a Silver Lining" (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (02/28/08)
- TITLE: Joy in the Principal's Office
By Elizabeth Southers
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The sudden artificial chirp of my cell phone interrupted my prayer. Slightly annoyed that my quiet time had been cut short, I glanced at the caller ID. My attitude quickly changed. “Oh Lord, please,’ I begged silently, as I saw the school phone number flashing on the screen. “Let it be something good.”
But it wasn’t. “Beth,” the patient voice on the other end began, “this is Patti. Could you come by and see me this afternoon?” It seemed that a hallway outburst had landed my son back in the principal’s office, a place with which we had both become entirely too familiar. All our disciplinary measures and long conversations with Jack had not eliminated the problem. And now even my prayers were interrupted by these trials. “I’ll be right in,” I answered.
My heart was racing as I entered the school building. I felt as if my own behavior was the reason my presence was requested, with the charge being “terrible parent.” I slinked in and took a seat in Patti’s office, ready to hear the worst. I looked around the cozy room, taking in the pictures of the many smiling, successful students decorating the walls. “I’m so sorry,” I began. “Don’t worry,” she replied quickly and assuredly. “You’re doing a good job, and he’s going to be just fine.”
The power of encouraging words washed over me. All the anxiety I had felt when walking in faded away as Patti and I discussed the joys and struggles of parenting, moving into personal stories of our own families and even sharing our common faith. I was actually enjoying myself in the principal’s office! This was a turn of events I had never expected. Out of the prayers of disappointment and disillusionment, God had provided a resource for me – a listening and sympathetic ear, a supporter in the ministry of parenting. I finally felt like maybe it really would be okay.
There were many such conversations over the years. Soon Patti and I had developed a friendship that extended far beyond the walls of the school. Jack’s picture now hangs in her office with the many others, and we laugh about the tension I felt at our first few meetings. The anxiety and insecurity I had originally faced was replaced with a love and confidence, as we shared many things together. Ours is now one of my most trusted and treasured relationships – all because of a few too many visits to the principal’s office.
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