In a previous blog, I wrote about the mysterious ways we find small miracles and the ways we ourselves are used as a blessing for others as we walk the spiritual path. Once again in recent weeks I found myself caught up in something larger than myself.
I was finishing up teaching in a grant program at the local community college and the Director of Grants texted me that the grant had hired a person to work on placement (job search and attainment for graduates) over the Summer. I thought it was a great idea and was pleased that I would have the opportunity to meet the woman who asked for 15 minutes of my last class session to introduce herself to the students and let them know what she would have to offer them.
In her presentation, she shared that she had a criminal record due to some early and poor choices in her life, and she spoke of how if she was able to overcome those odds, she can help the students overcome just about anything.
I remember thinking at the time that this was good information, as I could not address that as an employment barrier from a perspective of experience or frankly, even knowledge. This was something new to me, having worked almost exclusively in health care and with health career programs that screen out applicants with records. It is a deficit I have in my ability to coach job seekers, and I was pleased to have this woman as a resource for my students.
The same week that I learned we would welcome this person onto the team, I received a call from the community education division of the college. At the very last minute, an instructor on tap to teach a 4-week, non-credit MS Office class had stepped down and they needed someone ASAP. It just so happened that my Tuesdays had just opened up (my Practitioner 1 online class had concluded the previous week) as this was slated to begin, so I was able to say YES and step right into the role. It was also helpful that I have taught MS Office for years and can do it with little preparation.
The community education class was comprised of 1 session of MS Word, 1 session of MS Power Point and 2 sessions of MS Excel. On the first night I recognized one student with a super attitude and significant aptitude for the computer. She was young and eager to learn. I soon found myself relying on her to help the people sitting next to her when I was running around the class, which she was more than willing to do.
At the end of the 2nd night and our wrap up of Power Point, I was going to show the class how the slides come together to make the presentation with a short one I had put together. I noticed that the skilled young woman had a stellar presentation and so I asked her if she would be willing to share her presentation and she readily agreed. Often this is a much more effective tool for other students to learn from than more blah-blah-blah from the teacher, and I was thrilled that she was willing.
Toward the end of her presentation she mentioned that she had a criminal record, and while she was happy to have the opportunity to learn these skills, she was concerned that her past mistakes would be a significant barrier to getting a job.
I had to hold on to my chair to keep from falling over.
It had been just over a week since I was asked to step into a class previously assigned to another teacher and 5 days since I heard the presentation from our new placement person who spoke of having a record and being able to help students with this challenge.
As the class ended and the students filed out, I asked the young woman to remain for a moment. I shared my amazement at the unfolding events, and asked if she would be interested in speaking with the woman on the grant (which is unrelated to the community education class). She said yes, and I made the email introduction that evening.
Today, the young woman is enrolled in a program that will help her reintegrate into society in a way that will allow her to use her obvious aptitude for computers and she has the support of someone who is a fierce champion for those in need of a second chance.
On the 4th and final night of the 4-week class, the young woman thanked me again for introducing her to the other woman. I shook my head and with a grin, I said,
“Girl – you must have a prayin’ grandma!”
She looked at me and smiled, then said softly: “I got a prayin’ Momma”
I sobbed most of the way home.
I take great pride in my teaching abilities; my encouragement of returning adults and single parent students, and my coaching skills with those who are reentering the workforce after a break.
And yet, nothing I have done to date in the classroom has moved me the way this divine timing episode touched me. It brought to mind Michael Gott’s song, I Will Be
Here I am – a vessel to be used.
Whatever Spirit needs of me, I will be, I will be, I will be.
Here I stand – my heart is here to serve.
Wherever love is leading me, I will go, I will go, I will go.
Indeed, I was simply the vessel; in the right place, at the right time to be used in this divine intervention for someone who needed a miracle, and had a mother who knew that God can make a way when it seems that there is no way.
And so it is.
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