Both of my loyal readers know that I have been in pursuit of a particular dream for some time.
When I’m not busy being Dad, writing, or trying to whip my broken body into shape; I work at a day job. What’s funny is that this “day” job is a vocation for me. It is, as I like to think of it, a pathway along the wider road of God’s plan for me. For the past eleven years I have been a teacher in a Catholic high school (three of them, to be exact). Initially I got into teaching because it was a job. Somewhere along the line I realized I liked it. Then I realized that I loved it. Then I began to feel that I was good at it. Finally I thought that I could be of use to God in a different way. I got this crazy idea that I could be a pretty decent school administrator.
I went back to school and completed a second Master’s degree. And then I went on the hunt.
And I got… nowhere.
I explained my frustration to my wife. “It’s just that before this year, I had never interviewed for a job that I didn’t ultimately get.” “That’s nothing,” she said, “I’ve never interviewed for a job.” She pointed out to me that her first job out of college came about through a connection and she more or less advanced from there.
I put the dream aside, trying to convince myself of the words my best friend and brother, a guy I’ve known since our days in the college seminary. He’s always told me “God’s timing is perfect.” I used to laugh at him. Most of the time, though, I’d think of how obnoxious a thing like that is to say to someone who’s trying his heart out and getting nowhere. Yet somehow he knew. I put the dream aside and figured I would get comfortable with something I already knew I loved. I prepared myself to teach forever.
It’s funny to me how God does things like this. It’s His time. We’re just passing through it. I even remarked to my current students that, on the whole, this has been the best group of high school juniors I have ever worked with. I’ve always had it pretty easy and I’ve certainly had my stand-outs. But these kids this year have been a real blessing. They are kind, witty, caring, passionate. I love each and every one of them. God knew they’d be my last class as a teacher and He allowed me the grace of going out with the best. Recently a few of them have met my beginning-of-year challenge. “If you can find my blog, kids, you can read it.” For those who are reading right now, first, isn’t this blog amazing? You’ve never read anything this awesome. It has changed your life. Whatever, just lie and say yes. Second, thanks for being the best.
I’m really going to miss them when I start my new job in a month as an assistant principal. Oh, had I forgotten to slip that detail into the story? Sorry. Yes, I’m losing my summers and gaining a whole lot of responsibility but it’s everything I’ve wanted and I couldn’t be happier. Please pray for me that I do a good job.
And what did my current students ask of me as a memento of my time with them?
Apparently I should make them a “mix tape”. Go figure. I didn’t even know they would know what a mix tape is. Perhaps I’ll take them up on the suggestion. I haven’t made one of those in forever.