Milestones

Jan 29, 2004 |Lynne M. Thompson

Markers that show us God is at work in our lives.

Sitting in my school's Evaluations Office took patience. After waiting anxiously, my name was called and I followed the evaluator to a cubicle.

"Lynne, I know that you are a reentry student, but did you know that you have a D+ in government on your transcript from CSU, Fresno?" she said.

I thought, well of course I know. It's not like I wasn't there. I distinctly remembered how boring my instructor had been (and how much my drawing skills had improved in his class). I also remembered that I was younger at the time, and that government had been irrelevant in my worldview — which oriented my life toward three things: eating pizza out with friends, serving at my church and meeting cute guys (in that order).

"You will have to either take the class here and add your new grade, or take it at CSU's Fresno campus and replace the grade."

Deciding I shouldn't miss an opportunity to clean up my transcripts, I told my husband that I needed to take a summer cram class in government, in another town. He understood, so in August I packed up and headed to my friend's house for three weeks.

It was surreal walking onto the Fresno campus; I hadn't trod there in several years and the green musty buildings hadn't changed at all. In fact, I was pretty sure the class was in the exact same room.

After picking a seat in the middle of the room, a young man sat in the desk next to mine and began talking to a friend on the other side of me. Hoping to remove a potential distraction and improve my overall experience in the class, I offered to trade seats and he accepted. The room filled to capacity and a professor walked in. No, not just any professor, but the professor! The same man who gave me a D+ years ago. I was sure I'd fallen into the twilight zone.

"There are too many students signed up for this class," he announced in his haunting monotone voice, "so we are dividing up the class and another professor will teach the other group next door."

Great!, I thought. I'll go with the other professor. Clearly this man can't teach.

"The decision has already been made," he said, pointing. "This row over can stay with me, the rest of you are dismissed into the next classroom."

I sat in shock. If I hadn't traded with the guy next to me, I'd be in the other class. Now I was stuck with D+ man, again. Same place, same room, same boring teacher. The irony sank in and I started to chuckle. Obviously God was having a great time with me. I wondered if I would fare better this time around.

D+ man started to lecture. I started to take notes. One hour later I looked down to see few words scribbled on my page. I'd forgotten to write. I was too riveted by his words. Riveted? Yes, riveted. It seemed old D+ man had gotten more interesting in the last few years. He made sense of the world, showing us why it was the way it was, and how it might have been different. I went home to my friends that night and studied my heart out.

Before long, the three-week course was over, and I was happy to go home. In a way, though, I was sad. I would've preferred to soak in the facts concerning our country's history and its plight for a moral and just government rather than cram them in. And how did I find this boring so many years ago? Where was my head? Who was I then? ...

And that is what led to my epiphany. I wasn't being punished for a missed opportunity. No, I was being given a chance to see that progress had occurred in my life. God had taken the shallow girl who cared about little more than pizza, cute guys and socializing and transformed her into the woman who found her intro government class riveting. I began to realize that, if my intellectual interests could mature and change, than there was hope for my spiritual development too.

Over the years I've realized that, so long as I continue to let God transform me, the things that I struggle with today will eventually be the childish things I put away tomorrow. And this gives me something to look for when I evaluate my spiritual health: growth, the kind that produces fruit in my life.

Copyright 2004 Lynne M. Thompson. All rights reserved.

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