I can still recall it as if it were yesterday. Mr. Stevens, our seventh grade teacher, who on a good day was one breath away from losing it, had just excused me to go sit in the hall. I was not the one that threw the object at him, nor did I know who did. But, apparently he felt it came from my direction and I was busy gathering up my books and relocating to the desk that was stationed right out side the classroom door as he closed the door behind me.
I could hear the class snicker as I sat there.. Embarrassed and perplexed. I tried to defend myself to him, but I was quickly quieted. I sat in the hall fidgeting for what seemed like forever. Finally after a passage of time, I allowed myself to get up and get a drink from the drinking fountain that had been calling to me since I sat down. Just as I did, around the corner came the principal asking me, “What are you supposed to be doing young lady.” I thought that was a good question. I didn’t know what I was supposed to be doing. As I stumbled for the words, he looked at me sternly and instructed me to sit back down. I did. As he made his way back to office, I sat there pondering the very question that he asked. “What am I supposed to be doing out here.” I had been given no instructions, no idea of how long I was sentenced to the hall, nor what it was that I was supposed to be learning.
The last couple years of my life have felt much like it did when I was sitting in the hall waiting for…… whatever it was I was supposed to learn, or contemplate, or do. Feeling called by God, but lost in the actual activity. There are days I feel as frustrated as I did that day. Distracted by all kinds of meaningless things… Left to fidget and ponder on the question as to, what I was doing in the hall way.
It is a terribly lonely feeling. That feeling of being sentenced for a “crime” you either didn’t do, or had no awareness of. It feels like an injustice, but to quibble about it seems pointless. But, what is the reason? I can hear myself ask.
I don’t know why God gives us times like these. And I cannot even say, I know what I am supposed to be learning. Perhaps it is to slow down, or to perfect the art of discernment. Maybe it is to be still and know, or maybe it is, in and of itself the task.. the calling… to be willing to do whatever God asks, even if it is to sit in the hall and just be alone with him – as he whispers my story back to me.