I would guess she's about eight or nine and cute as can be. She is a little girl who sometimes is swimming in the pool at my fitness club when I come in after school or on the weekends. She doesn't say much but she is all smiles and a terrific swimmer. Her mom, who is always coaching her, told me her daughter has qualified for several events at the state swimming meet and youth swimming in Texas is very competitive. We've struck up a little friendship over the past six months or so. I found out she goes to a private school in Houston and mom has friends from Nebraska. I've told them I coach and teach at WCS and several other items of interest. I won't say I always look for the pair but I'm always glad to see them. They inevitably appear to be having a blast as well as working hard to get better in the water. Unfortunately, that's not always the case in youth sports these days as many of us know.
A week ago on a Sunday afternoon, as I was preparing for my pre-Bible study swim, I couldn't find my $5 Wal-Mart Sharp digital clock I use to time myself in the pool. No telling where it could have been; I lose stuff on almost a daily basis. I figured to time myself with the sweep hand clock on the wall which is hardly precise when you swim but better than nothing. And yet when I arrived at my lane in the indoor facility, there was my clock on a little bench by lane # 3. My mother-daughter buddies were there, of course. Mom told me her child had spotted the timepiece and instantly knew it was mine when she saw it pool-side. She was hoping I would come that day so I could get it back....and I did! Mom told me she would not have made the connection with me and the clock but her little girl, who was smiling, certainly did. I thanked them and told my favorite swimmer I owed her five dollars. Another smile, a greater gift than the digital clock and much better than making one more trip to Wal-Mart!
We never know who is paying attention, do we? Maybe it's like the song by The Police, as sung by Sting: I'll be watching you. I've noticed my female students see everything and I mean everything. Their male counterpoints are
Last Sunday Kent Allen delivered a great sermon at our church, the East Point Church of Christ. One of his points was about how important it is for us to show integrity in all parts of our life. As Christians, this shows up in how we keep our promises, how we use our money, how we drive our cars, how we work at our jobs, etc. Kent's sermon reminded me of an incident at a school once. I came up upon several teachers sitting and talking at a lunch table. They were watching another teacher casually stroll by the lunch serving area and sure enough he picked up a cookie off of a platter and didn't pay for it. They all shook their heads joked about his regular habit of helping himself. It made me think about how carefully we must live as Christians so that our behavior might not in any way keep some person from knowing Christ.
Let me say this at the outset. I'm pretty sure the cookie thief wasn't our brother, Dave, who teaches with Scott. (I know it wasn't me- I also taught with Scott for four years!) People see what we do; the good and bad, the consistencies and inconsistencies, the major and the minor. And they hear us as well as see us. A five dollar clock and a one dollar cookie don't cause seismic ripples in the stream of history but they might in the life of a child or a grown up struggling with their belief. Who's watching me? It might be easier to determine who isn't. But someone is and that makes my deeds important. Maybe even eternally important. And you can't measure eternity on a five dollar battery operated clock..... but maybe you can change it.
Applicable quote of the day:
“Perception is reality to the one in the experience.”
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