First off, I want to thank my sister-friend and fellow blogger Emmy of Journey of a Catholic Nerd Writer for hosting What I Learned Wednesday. She started this last year (my goodness it’s a New Year!) and I was a bit late to the party, but I’m glad to be blogging again. These posts usually discuss what one learned during the past week. I’ve decided that this first post of the New Year will be about what I learned last year.
2012 was a year of many challenges and many surprises. As strong as my faith is, there are moments when I forget how amazing God is. It sounds silly to use “strong” and “forget” in the same sentence, but I guess it is all a part of being human. I learned or re-learned that somehow everything works out. I guess, in many ways, I need to write about the end of 2011 in order to tell you about 2012 and tell you what I’ve already learned in the first few days of 2013.
Two years ago, I officially left a public relations career to pursue a career in teaching. I had long been drawn to that vocation, but idiotically kept running away from it. But, I have since learned that answering the God’s persistent call can fill your heart and refresh your soul in so many ways. 2011 was the year where I began my student teaching journey–I was two semesters away from becoming a teacher. In October of that year, a serious bacterial respiratory infection sidelined me for quite a long time and put one of my lungs in serious risk. From October 2011-February 2012 I faced serious challenges. The very act of breathing and walking would fatigue me and my immune system was severely weekend. Despite missed classes and weeks of student teaching, however, I somehow recovered. The truth is that the school I attended should have kicked me out for missing so many classes, but thanks to my professors and friends I was given the opportunity to finish. My lung, which was operating at less than 50% capacity, should have remained seriously impaired. By the grace of God, my lung is back to near normal and the long-term effects are minimal. In May, I earned my credential.
The next challenge of 2012 was securing a job. By mid-June, I had pretty much resigned myself to being unemployed until at least January of 2013. I had exhausted all potential avenues. The public school system was not hiring in my subject area (English) and all the private Catholic schools were not hiring in both of my subject areas (English/Religious Studies). I have entered a career in which jobs are often scarce due to plunging budgets and consolidations. I remember praying that something would open up. In July, it did. A principal from a local Catholic high school called and mentioned that she had a Campus Ministry position open–was I interested? I was and I interviewed and didn’t hear from her for two weeks. Then she called and told me that I hadn’t been chosen for the Campus Ministry position but that a Religious Studies position opened up over the weekend (she called on a Monday)–would I be interested in that? I was. And, here I am.
I am four months into a job I love–teaching students that have captured my heart in a way I never expected would happen. What I feared about becoming a teacher is the very thing that keeps me going. I care…maybe too much sometimes, but I wouldn’t change that. As I sat in the gym during our first school liturgy, my heart was filled with a sense of gratitude that I have never felt before. It was the gratitude from a restless soul that has found where it is meant to be in this time and place.
God taught me, as He always does, that the most wondrous gifts are often the things we run away from. God taught me that his goodness endures and will never cease to astound me. I re-learned how beautiful it is to walk in the path He has called me to and I have learned to cease running and start resting–resting in the wonder and the mystery that gives life. 2013 has gotten off to a rough start, but I am reminded that God’s grace is beyond anything and everything.
One student, on the last day before break, taught me one of the best lessons of 2012 that I will carry with me into 2013. She reminded me that God teaches us through others and He knows exactly what we need when we need it or even before then. She gifted me with a jar of her favorite scriptural verses. It was a gift from her heart to my heart and spirit. In her Christmas card she quoted Matthew 5:8 and wrote “I see the Lord through you.” When I reached in the first time for a scriptural verse this was what I read: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” And so with those words of the prophet Isaiah, with those words that a student’s heart shared with me, I move on into this new year. I may be facing difficulties already, but I am learning, I will continue to learn, and what I have already learned I will put into practice. “There, but for the grace of God…”