Noisy Streets

Sometimes, I sit down to pray and find my mind comes up with great ideas for my latest bulletin board.  I’m wandering through the terrain of my last conversation with a friend, around the best way to handle teaching place value, above the vast, unknown landscape of my future, and back again to the color of my carpet.  When did my thoughts start controlling me and not the other way around? It doesn’t help that the minute I sit on my couch I have about twenty gazillion things that shout…no, scream, for my attention.  My computer stares at me, hard.  We both know that I have a couple emails I never responded to, that there’s bound to be an adorable picture of my niece on Facebook, and that I still need find that perfect kitchen table on Craigslist before we can have anyone over.  I would kick it across the room, except it’s currently my only music-playing device. And then, there’s the cell phone. It bears a resemblance to the black hole of my PC, with the additional blessing and curse of calls and texts.  Why do I do that to myself? Don’t I know better?

I love kids, and almost everything about them.  I love to challenge them, to make them laugh, and mostly I love to teach them about all kinds of interesting things.  There is one thing that breaks my heart, though.  When I am in the middle of a lesson that I worked so hard on, incorporating music, video clips, acting, humor, and anything else I could think of, when I’m in the middle of passionately making my point with all of the energy I have in soul, I look around the room and little “Johnny” is looking out the window. In one glance I know he is far, far away in a distant land. How could he break my heart like that? When I worked and tried so hard? And how dare he ask me to repeat myself?

My students have always educated me far more than I have ever educated them. Adults never crawl too far outside the elementary school version of themselves. We just learn to dress ourselves in higher-level vocabulary and get more complex in our excuses.

I like to blame my disconnection with “technological distraction.”  Newsweek magazine says the internet is causing people to actually go crazy.  Either way, it’s not our fault.  We are a victim of the age in which we live.  No other civilization in the history of time ever had more information at their fingertips that we do.

My attention is jerked back to the task at hand by an unfamiliar voice over Pandora radio:

“Hear it

calling out your name in the

busy streets in the center of town

Who will turn their face to truth

and then live it out?”

Knowledge awaits you, filling your arms

with more than they ever could grasp

Blessed are you who hunger for truth

then keep your eyes fixed on what lasts.”

(Jill Phillips – “Wisdom”)

As if the Lord couldn’t use a little thing like the internet to shake me awake.

These words come from Proverbs 1:20:

“Wisdom shouts in the street,

She lifts her voice in the square;

At the head of the noisy streets she cries out . . .

Turn to my reproof.”

Thousands of years ago, wisdom called and few listened.  Our busy streets might look a little different, but our sinful hearts haven’t changed.

“So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord. “(Hosea 6:3)

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