At a recent Christmas party, the host invited the guests to share toasts for the new year (and simply life in general) by setting a theme and encouraging us to toast to various things. Standing there, cupping a glass of mulled wine, I listened to people make toasts to fruitfulness, the fullness of faith, wonder, the Eucharist, the Holy Spirit, and so on. After the person would give their ferverino related to the toast, he would lift his glass and say “To fruitfulness” (or whatever was being toasted) and the rest of us would repeat it.
Partly preparing for the potential of being randomly called on and partly because it was a beautiful idea, I pondered what I would toast to and how it could be connected to the previous toasts. So, lucky random readers, you shall hear my toast!
To waiting. The gift of fruitfulness comes only after a period of waiting. A slow, quiet growing (sometimes painful, sometimes joyful) which gives way to newness. The world waited for a Savior and even after the Incarnation, there was still a period of waiting for redemption, waiting for an epiphany. Our lives are filled with waiting, manifold opportunities for glorious encounters wrapped in the seemingly mundane trappings of daily life. May this waiting not be passive, but may it be an active experience of longing, of hoping for what is to come, and trusting that it will indeed come.
Photo by Al Elmes on Unsplash
Teaching is an odd profession.
It is one of those careers that is clearly marked by beginnings and ends. I start the school year with a lot of fanfare, an open house for the parents to see all the teachers, and plenty of introduction activities. At the end of a semester, I wrap up the grades, submit them all, and tuck away another half of a year.
When I come back at the start of another semester, it is with newness. Some of the students might be the same, but they are often rearranged into different sections. Old students in new classes often yield new experiences because they all interact differently with one another.
Continue reading “Something New”
There are a lot of things most people don’t know about teachers. Most people don’t understand that non-essential classroom decorations (posters, quotes, extra materials) are not paid for by the school. At times they don’t realize that teaching isn’t a 8-4 job, even if those are the hours for school. They see the long summers, the Christmas breaks, the consistent weekends off and they believe that teachers have it made. My dad used to say that teachers complain about their pay but they only work for nine months out of the year. After seeing me endure my first year of teaching, I think he re-evaluated and commented that teachers work pretty hard. Every job has its difficulties but people think they know everything that teachers must do because they have all experienced classroom teachers. The other side of the desk is a bit harder, I’ve learned.
The school year is just beginning and I feel tired already. Tonight was open house–where the parents go through a mock day and are in each class for 5 minutes. I’ve never been a big fan of it and always get nervous to speak to the parents. Tonight I was the least nervous I have ever been but there were still moments of anxiety.
The best part was when I would thank the parents for being the primary educators of their children in regards to the faith. My intention was to challenge them, encourage them, and applaud them for their efforts. It was wonderful to see the parents hear what their children probably never say to them. They see the battles to get their children to Mass and I catch a glimpse of the greatness of that action. One of the parents thanked me for what I do for the students. Despite my dislike for the open house in general, that makes it worth it. I love that I was able to encourage, however briefly, the parents in their vocation as parent. The rewards may not seem obvious but they will be eternal.
Since my older sister came home for home visit, I am realizing that I love the idea of the lay vocation. It is the leaven in the world. The sanctification of the world will only be possible, I believe, with the sanctification of the laity.