Expectations

six assorted color lollipops
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Walking home from school, one dreary afternoon in East London, I reached into my jacket and found a penny. Howling with triumph I ran to the sweet shop around the corner from Spitalfields Market to see what I could buy. I stepped inside and decided on the purchase of a gob stopper with my found penny (a gob stopper is a large, round, solid, delicious piece of candy that can be savoured for an hour if you suck slowly).  The next day in class, after the bell clanged for play time, Sister Ursula caught my arm as I was rushing from the classroom. ” Leonard, did you  find a penny in your jacket yesterday”. Yes Sister I replied. I was constantly told by Sister Ursula that God was everywhere and could read our most secret thoughts. But I never knew this also applied to her. Sister Ursula continued ” and what did you do with that penny Leonard”. ” I bought a gob stopper, Sister” I replied. Sister Ursula shook her head sadly ” Leonard, did you not know that the penny was not yours to spend. You should have returned it to me when you discovered it in your jacket. You stole the money to buy sweets. God isn’t happy with you”.  “Yes Sister” I replied instantly contrite and suddenly in fear of intended consequences for my action. ” Well, let that be a lesson for you Leonard. If you find something that doesn’t belong to you please return it to me. “Yes Sister, sorry Sister” I said and hurried from the classroom. Sister Ursula, as an experiment in honesty,  had placed a penny in a selected number of children’s coat pockets with the expectation that they would realize it wasn’t theirs and return the penny to her. Not one child returned the penny which must have been a great disappointment to her and a source of despair for the next generation. We clearly did not live up to Sister Ursula’s expectations of us.

sugar colorful candy sweets
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Sister Ursula must have thought that I was the best of a bad bunch because a week later, she once again  pulled me aside,  and asked if I had ever considered a vocation to the priesthood. I said I had not. She persevered with this line of enquiry until I found myself agreeing to attend a Salesian College for a three week trial period. The Salesians are a Roman Catholic religious institute founded in the late nineteenth century by Italian priest Saint John Bosco to help poor children during the Industrial Revolution.The Salesians’ charter call for spiritual and corporal works of charity towards the young, especially the poor, and the education of boys to the priesthood. It was three weeks of communal prayer upon wakening, morning mass, talks, a spiritually uplifting movie, communal evening prayer and benediction. A football game and a visit to the tuck shop were slotted in between our spiritual awakening. Things went well for the first week and I was rather enjoying the routine when disaster struck. We were allowed a daily visit to the tuck shop to buy pop and candy from an allowance that was deposited by our parents with the Salesians. My allowance was minimal so I could only afford to go to the tuck shop once a week. After buying my candy allotment in the afternoon I proceeded to the dormitory and placed the candy in my bedside locker before attending the next class. The following afternoon I returned to the dormitory to select a piece of candy from my locker only to discover that all the candy had disappeared. I was devastated. Weren’t we supposed to be the future hope for mankind by bringing Christ’s teachings to all, and yet there was a thief among us. I declined the opportunity for further study as the character of my fellow students trying out for the priesthood did not meet my expectations.

We should live our lives by marching to our own drummer and not by trying to live up to other peoples expectations of us. You can please some of the people some of the time………………

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