I’ve noticed that when you give God free rein in your life, his grace moves in you to give you light about your gifts and the obstacles you have to his grace. This became so poignant for me this last week as I sat in a Spanish class for fours a day with four college students here in Guadalajara. In my class, instead of building on my comments, I heard the teacher, over and over (it seemed) to correct me. In points not related to grammar, he said, “No, Mary.” I just didn’t always understand the directions for the activities and I brought up different points. I found myself feeling quite defensive during the sessions, which I did not really like in myself. I tried to lighten up and just let it be but each time, I filled in the blanks of our workbook differently, I heard no. One day, I finally had enough and asked during class, “Do we have to read over the blanks we filled in?” He answered in front of the class, “Yes, Mary. You need to read for when you read, I don’t understand what you are saying.” “Ok,” I thought, “so much for building on my strengths.” I felt the sting of shame.
I think I had become accustomed to working with adults and to being an adult involved in conferences and classes. I appreciated how the parameters of teaching adults have been highlighted in recent years for those of us teaching adults. We really try to cultivate creativity and initiative in the United States when we work with adults. I think the educational climate emphasizes different things in Mexico.
Today, as I prepared for class, I was begging for grace to lighten up and not react to the corrections that come with learning a new language and culture. It happened again: I didn’t give the desired response. It wasn’t wrong grammatically, but it wasn’t what the instructor wanted. He corrected me, but this time, grace worked in me. I felt myself flex and let it lay. Grace really is a practical force in our lives when we bring our everyday struggles into prayer. My Spanish is improving and I can carry on conversations with people on the bus, and with the homebound I have been bringing the Eucharist to here in Guadalajara, but there have been times, people talked to me and I had to have them repeat it for I didn’t understand them totally. I didn’t feel embarrassed today. It was just part of the process.
We need to approach our faults in this way: note them, take them to prayer, and when they crop up, find God’s presence with us. He is drawn to us in our deepest needs. No obstacle is too great for his grace to touch it, lube us up inside, so we can move in his grace through our humanness. What about you? Where have you noticed the obstacles in your life of faith and charity? Don’t blame them out onto others but take them as a needy one to the heart of Our Savior! Miracles await us if we do! ~ Mary