A Leap of Love

Following my previous post with an update of sorts, I have entrusted the girl I began dating recently with the truth of my former engagement and the horror of my circumstances that led to the end of my personal and professional life in that northern city.  Her response and my own feelings led to a decision to go on a fourth date.   That fourth date was magnificent for many reasons.   Though we explored how we could make each other feel wonderful, we did so in ways that did not conflict with our connection to Christ.  Kaysie is Catholic as well and she, like I, wants to be in a relationship where she can be proud of herself.   We want our relationship,  for however long it lasts, to bring us closer to God.   We will have fun and get to know each other and it will be good…. 🙂  That is all for now.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Juxtaposition/ Science Rocks

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Taken for reasons not obvious last week but perfect for this week’s theme.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/24/photo-challenge-juxtaposition/

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Family/ Red Rose

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http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/photo-challenge-family-2/

My father holding his favorite rose, grown for him by my mother.

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Matches, Music, and Masks

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Sitting in Smokey Joes, listening to my buddy Jeff Sinclair rock out with his band, shooting pool with one of the ELA teachers on my team, Sam Spade, and eating dinner with a match made by my roommate … and saying everything and nothing.   In the midst of conversations I am reminded of Ann’s father’s band, of the accident that brought me here, of Ann herself and the engagement that is no longer.  So much of my past, so much of what has brought me to this place and made me who I am must remain unsaid, unshared.  Does it? Must it?  Will I ever be able to tell my friends about Ann and the engagement that was without having to say why it ended and all of the darkness involved in that revelation?  Will I ever be able to tell my buddy Larry the truth of what happened in PA?  Dare I tell Sinclair, or Sam, or any of the teachers here at my school?  I don’t know why keeping it all to myself forever seems so intolerable,  but it does.
God either give me the courage to confide in these people I trust or give me the strength to hold my silence.

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Memory of a Love for a Smile

The joy I feel when I look at you smile is pure and full and sacred.  There is nothing simpler and yet so rewarding as getting to hear you laugh or see you smile and know that I caused it to be.  Your smile is radiant and incredibly catching; I see it and I can’t help but reciprocate.  Your face is warmly beautiful, like the glow of a campfire on a crisp night, pure and without amendment; you never need to do anything to a campfire to make it more lovely.  As long as you can laugh with such life and smile with such splendor — you will always make me happy.  Whilst the embers of your spirit stave off the coldness of the night, despair will never touch my heart.  You will always be the most beautiful person in my world; I will always love you.

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The Rhythm of Life

The Rhythm of Life is a song that I sang in my sophomore year glee club.  It was an upbeat, fun song to sing during which our director would let us walk around the practice room when our voice part sang as long as we made sure to be back in our seat by the end of the piece.  Like I said … fun.

I thought of the song title when I sat down here, in this WiFi equipped cafe in downtown Effington, to write something for my long forsaken blog.  I thought at that moment “what has kept me from taking the time to write?”  The answer that popped into my stream of consciousness was both amusing and true: the rhythm of Life!!!

My life’s rhythm has been beating at an exhausting tempo and has left little time for any detailed personal reflection.  My teaching of late shows that with its preponderance of lecture based lessons and lack of formative assessments (excepting the one which I had to do in order to generate a list of students in need of remediation).  I have been preoccupied by a mild state of panic caused by my certainty that I’m not going to cover all I need to before my students take their benchmark test for this unit. 

My prayer life has been malnourished as well.  The homily at mass this morning reminded me of that.  I still pray daily my prayer to the Holy Spirit asking for guidance and surrendering my will, but I want to be spending more time in scripture and Ignatian contemplation.  I have a bit of a plan for that which I’ll share with my nonexistent readers in order to hold myself accountable somewhat.  My apologies to any who are reading this. I value and thank you, but I also don’t flatter myself by pretending that my writing is anything life changing.  As any writer secretly hopes I’m sure, it would be wonderful if my thoughts made a positive impact on someone else (not to mention gratifying), but I digress.

My plan is to commit the first 15 to 20 minutes of my prep period to reading the scripture for the following week and reflecting on it.  I’ll check in next week to proclaim my success or confess my lack of follow through. I also have a decent lesson concept prepared for this week that is student centered and kinesthetic in nature.  Having finally moved into my own apartment last weekend with a roommate, I have a sense of comfortable normalcy beginning to take root.

Speaking of taking root, one of my rose cuttings has begun to do just that so that I have to plant it into its own pot before long.  My activities with the local rose shows, apprentice judging and even entering an arrangement in the latest show, have kept me busy and connected with other human beings who aren’t my family, students, or coworkers.  I feel like I’m coming into my own at last with my career, personal, and spiritual lives becoming publicly intertwined.  I am singing in my church’s choir (a real choir with four part harmony and a professional director to boot) and have today finally turned in my registration card to become a member of the parish.  At last, my personal arrangement of The Rhythm of Life is sounding less like a cacophony and more like a pleasant and livable melody.  AMDG

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AMDG

Ad meiorem Dei gloriam (AMDG) means “for the greater glory of God”.

My uncle, the Jesuit priest I’ve spoken of previously, taught me the meaning of that abbreviation when I met him in CA before our cross country trip east.  He said many times Jesuits will sign their letters with that before their names.

I title this post that way because “the Lord has done great things for me, and worthy is his name.”  More importantly though, because I love you God.  Abba …. my Father … I love you.

I love you because I do . . . for no other reason than that.  I walked away from my spiritual retreat wholly refreshed, rejuvenated, and recommitted to growing my relationship with Christ.  I began saying a prayer to the Holy Spirit every day (our Retreat Master, Fr. Larry Richards recommended doing this).  The prayer goes: “O Holy Spirit, beloved of my soul, I adore you.  Enlighten me, guide me, strengthen me, console me.  Tell me what I should do; give me your orders.  I promise to submit myself to all you desire of me and to accept all that you permit to happen to me.  Let me only know your will.”

I am a sinner, in no way worthy of praise or admiration because of what I am telling you.  I write this not for “atta’ boys” or to make anyone think better of me.  I don’t even want you to know who I am really (SRC is all you’ll ever get out of me).

I write all of this to give thanks and glory to God, and to write about something cheerful for once.  It is easy to be faithful to God when times are good . . . not so much when times are bad.  I am thankful that I began to solidly rebuild my relationship while things were still bad and so I don’t feel like my love is quid pro quo (at least not totally, again I’m not perfect).

do believe that God made clear for me a path to rebuild my life and not because of anything I did, but because I am His beloved son, and he has work for me to do in this new state in the south.  That’s right, I just “moved” (in truth I have clothes and books and I’m staying with friends until I get my own place) 8 hours south from the state I’ve lived in all of my life to live and teach at a middle school.

Before I left to work at a camp for one week, I sent out a lot of applications to schools in MA and some in RI.  I sent my resume and a cover letter email to one school in this southern state.  I didn’t even know where in the state it was.  While I was at this camp, I received a phone call requesting a phone interview for this middle school teaching position.  I interviewed and got the job!!!  The school turned out to be located in a small town (we’ll call it Forest Path) which is just outside of a major city (we’ll name it Effington, a nod to Ben Folds of course) where very good family friends live.  I knew I would be able to stay with them until I got myself situated.  The same day I got the job I got a call from my landlord (of the house I could not remain living in but needed to keep paying rent until it was sold) saying that they found a buyer and I could be released from the rental lease two months early.  

I am usually not one who points to things dramatically and says “God!  I know it was you!!!” . . . But come on, this one is pretty obvious.  I am so thankful and relieved to be moving past what can only be described as one of the darkest and most painful chapters in my life.  I am ready to begin anew and to be successful and free.  I know though that the greatest source of joy is my renewed relationship with Jesus and that my strength for teaching and loving my students must flow from Him.  I am even open to the Priesthood again as a possibility (something I have seriously contemplated at different points in my life).

I am very grateful for the love and support people have given to me over the last 8 months and I pray that I can return that loyalty and love with help from God.

AMDG

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