A lesson in priorities

While working on adoption paperwork today, I accidentally logged into the wrong email address and didn’t realize it until I searched my emails for the name of our agency. When I typed in the acronym, an email caught my eye from 2009.

In 2009, I was completing my last semester of college.  During this time, I had the great privilege of completing my scholarship work study for Dr. Tang, a professor in the management and marketing department.

By this time, I had worked with two additional professors and in the main office of the department.  Usually, this role had me grading multiple choice papers, looking for typos or spelling errors in papers, making copies of articles, helping a bit with article research and other such tasks.

Dr. Tang approached the situation a little differently.  While I did occasionally help with grading, I mostly got to help with his published articles and research.  He would copy me on the same emails he sent to his graduate TA, and I found myself really drawn into his work and interested in his subject matter.  I wasn’t a business major, but I learned a lot about business during this time.  Long before I learned anything personal about Dr. Tang, I had an enormous amount of respect for him and his work.

We didn’t have a lot of conversations while I sat in his office for a few hours every week.  Usually, we were both absorbed in our work.  But every once in a while, he would just drop some kind of wisdom bomb on me.

However, the most memorable thing he ever told me had absolutely nothing to do with my education at MTSU or any sort of business lesson at all.

One day I looked up from an article I’d been reading, blinked rapidly to help waken my tired eyes, and suddenly noticed a picture hanging at the very top of Dr. Tang’s office.  It was up where the wall met the ceiling — a bit of a strange place for a photo.

I asked him about it, and he told me it was a picture of his baptism.  He explained he wanted it to be the highest thing in his office, prioritized over everything else, set apart in its significance and of utmost importance.

Nine years later, I think of that picture so often.  I wonder what would be hanging next to the ceiling in my own office?  What do I consider to be of the utmost importance?

I want it to be Jesus.  Always and only.

I know this doesn’t seem adoption related, but in a way it is.  It’s so easy to put our family and my role as a mother in that highest spot.  I can only imagine that will become even truer as we dive headfirst into this journey.

I want to remember my highest calling is to love and follow Jesus.  And perhaps if I do that well, my children will follow me as I follow Christ until one day they choose to follow him on their own.


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