My niece stood up in the middle of the church service and walked out. As we followed her, she said she didn’t want to be there or with us.
Out in the hallway, my husband and I tried to talk with her. She steadfastly refused to return to the service.
We knew what this was all about. She had gotten into the habit of changing her jewelry over and over before going anywhere. It didn’t matter to her about being late. That morning, we had forced her to leave before she had finished deciding. So she wasn’t about to cooperate with us.
We decided to leave her sitting in the hall and returned to the service. About 2 minutes later I went to check on her. She was on her way out the door. When I caught up with her, she was asking a man on the street where she could find a taxi.
I asked her if she had money for a taxi and she began to cry. So we sat down for awhile and talked, then returned to the service.
My husband and I were in agreement: this behavior needed to stop.
So following our usual practice, we went to the St Louis Bread Company. There we bought one Cuban sandwich. When we got home, I made myself a salad, and coached my niece through making a ham sandwich.
When we all sat down to eat, my niece took one look at my husband, eating his Cuban sandwich, pursed her lips as if to say “Oh!” and nodded. She didn’t say one word but ate her sandwich without complaint.
The next Sunday as we were getting ready for church, she asked me if we’d get Cuban sandwiches afterwards.
“You know what you need to do to get a Cuban sandwich,” I told her.
“I am ready,” she replied. And she was. When we told her to get into the car, she went.
What a joy that she was so teachable! And that she learned the first time. We didn’t have to repeat the lesson, or endure the behavior that made everyone late.
What I pity that I am not more teachable.
God shows me something, and I make excuses.
Or I discount the lesson, putting the consequences of my behavior down to coincidence or something other than my fault.
Or in my heart I know I need to change something, but my pride prevents me from even making the first step.
My niece’s teachable heart gave me much joy. It’s a joy I wish I was quicker to give to God.