A Learning Experience
by Joni Eareckson Tada
“The wise in heart are called discerning, and pleasant words promote instruction.” 
Proverbs 16:21
I’m a quadriplegic, but I can drive a van (it doesn’t have a steering wheel, but that’s another story). Recently I cruised into the drive-thru lane of a fast-food restaurant to order hamburgers and Cokes. After I gave my order over the intercom, I explained that the boy at the window would have to help me since I was disabled. No problem.
I then drove up to the delivery window, stuck out my arm, and asked the boy to take the ten dollar bill that was folded in my arm splint. That was no problem, either. As another server was bagging my order, I asked him to place my change in it as well. Both boys looked at each other, a little confused, and so I smiled and slowly repeated my instructions.
Both servers got the message, and they even wrapped the change in a napkin before they dropped it into the bag with the food. They handed me my order, but I had to ask, “Could you please lean out of your window a bit more and wedge the bag right here between me and the van door?” Both boys looked at each other again. “Remember? I can’t use my hands” I smiled.
“Oh yeah,” they laughed and proceeded to reach over and fasten the package securely between my wheelchair and the door. They waved as I drove off. And I smiled back knowing those two boys would now have a new appreciation for disabled people. What could have been an awkward, embarrassing situation turned out to be fun.
Today, take a complicated situation and with time, patience, and a smile turn it into something positive … for you and for others.
Lord, when I ask others to do something today, help my words to be pleasant. For Your sake, may my instructions be a blessing to others.
Joni and Friends
Taken from Diamonds in the Dust
Copyright © 1993
By Joni Eareckson Tada
Published in Print by Zondervan, Grand Rapids
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version.
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