It has been an interesting week, and it has been a week to check on my spiritual progress and perhaps to reassess.
I taught 15 children ages 8-11 from 10 to 4 every day last week how to sew. It was in a local store. The person who taught it last year had surgery and could not do it this year and they really needed someone. Lesson one: I did not feel at ease accepting their plea for me to teach, which at the time was to be no more than 9 children. Once again I failed the test of listening to my intuition.
Monday I was told there were 14 children, but that morning the manager signed up 1 more! I was to lead them through making a pillow case, pajama bottoms, a robe and a backpack, and some of the patterns were too complex for beginners, plus 2 couldn't find the robe pattern and purchased a shawl collar robe pattern that was even more complex. The manager had told me that an intern would help. It turned out the intern was 13, her only sewing experience was last summer in this class and she hadn't sewn a stitch since!
So I tried to get it organized. I assigned the intern to ripping and ironing. I began to teach the machines (all different ones), how to thread, wind bobbins, etc. I started them sewing on designs on paper to learn to control the machine. We had some usual things, like sewing with the presser foot up and therefore a ball of thread to be cleared out, but mostly it went well.
After demonstrating the project, I had the children come to me with their projects when they needed help or call me to their machines if there was a machine problem. It was going pretty well. From time to time a parent came by and wanted to help their child, but gave them wrong instruction and so we had to rip or find a way around this new problem. I didn't sit down but maybe 10 minutes a day, it was constant needing of me.
On Wednesday a father came to be with his daughter, He had helped the day before some and was quite helpful, watching what I showed and having her do the same thing. At one time I had 4 children in line for my help. He looked at me angrily and quite loudly said, "She has been waiting 10 minutes for your help!" I told him I was sorry, but I had 15 children needing my help, I was going as fast as I possibly could and it would be all right we'd get it all done. He began to scream "IT IS NOT ALL RIGHT. I PAID GOOD MONEY FOR THIS CLASS AND MY DAUGHTER IS NOT BEING TREATED RIGHT." (he paid the store $99 for 30 hours of sewing lessons and childcare, so I guess I was wasting a few pennies of that trying to be fair to all the children). I told him that I am a retired pastor and was only teaching this class out of the goodness of my heart. He began screaming again, "WHERE'S THE MANAGER. I WANT THE MANAGER." I told him it was her day off and he could talk with her tomorrow. He got more belligerent when I told him I did not have her number, was not an employee. He was raging as he went to the store employees demanding the manager's number.
Well anyway, it was not pretty. It turned out the chain's policy was to have one employee for every 4 children. On Thursday the manager and one employee helped, so it was smoother, but you could feel the tension in the air.
Most of the children gave me great hugs and thankful parents greeted me astonished their child who had never sewn before made 4 things in one week. One little boy that I was worried about because he kept telling me he was evil and wanted to be Darth Veder and had a hard time focusing, gave me a sweet hug, and looking up at me plaintively asked, "will I ever see you again?" When I told him that I didn't know, he tightened his hug and sunk his head into me. It was poignant and real pay for the week. He will live in my memory for as long as I have memory, and he is in my prayers. It was painful to hear him many times during the week exclaim he is evil!
There were many moments - great and horrible - all my teachers. Lesson one, listen to intuition. Lesson two, even when you don't listen, some good can come from it and there will be some tough lessons too. Lesson three, there are persons out there deeply in need of forgiveness work. His out of proportion behavior showed that he was putting some past problems on top of this moment and could not see this moment for itself.
I had not been screamed at for many years, and so I admit that I was shaken. Also, I did not know if his violent speech would become violent actions. I was able to remain poised and carry on that day and the rest of the week. But inside I felt wounded. I was not fully able to rise above it internally for several days. Perhaps I am not as far along The Way as I thought. I want to remain centered inside and out and not give my peace of mind to any circumstance or any person.
So back to the spiritual drawing board.
I want to pray for that man and his family who surely also have received the brunt of his anger and rage.
My beloved Lord, I lift up to you the raging man of last week and his family. Lead him to peace. Teach him of forgiveness. Surround his wife and children with the blanket of your protection. Let healing flow in this family. Help them in all the ways they need help. I am relieved to remember You have heard this prayer and are even now bringing them Your healing. Thank You!