I tutor six to ten children after school every day. For a number of reasons most of the children were not able to come today, only Ajay—a restless four-year-old from the first class who cannot understand English. “Very naughty, that one,” the Indian women will say.
So there Ajay and I sat, at a small, chalk-covered desk, I trying to get him to copy his figures and he trying to avoid or prolong the process by whatever means necessary. He didn’t have a pencil and I only had a mechanical one. He kept pressing too hard. The lead kept breaking. He was impatient, restless. I was trying to make him understand how he was writing the number five wrong. For a language I had my hands, two words I know in Telagu, and four words he knows in English.
After he finished, I planned on taking him to the canteen and buying him a small treat, but I had no way to communicate this to him, to use it as motivation. Come on, Ajay, I inwardly groaned. Just two more rows of numbers. He had no idea what was in my heart. He only saw the figures in front of him and felt the desire to avoid anything hard.
How often am I like Ajay, whining and fussing under a simple task, stubbornly putting my head in my lap to avoid having to pick up the pencil again? Yet God is waiting to unleash the blessings of heaven if only I will finish writing out three more 5’s.
Our language with the divine is limited. There is no way for him to make us comprehend the blessings of pressing through when life is hard. We just have to trust him, to finish the tasks we don’t enjoy because we need to. Because we are still in school. Because writing 5’s is what we’ve been given to do.