Making Time

I can be such a jerk.

I was tying up some loose ends in my classroom yesterday and was  looking foreward to my weekend.  School had only let out half an hour before, but it was on its way to being pretty quiet.  It was  a Friday.  And one of the many dirty little secrets of education is that teachers are generally as eager as students for week ends and holidays.

At any rate, it was quiet.  And I do love the quiet.

It a precious commodity, an endangered species when you work with behaviorally challenged adolescents.   Whatyever field you work in, you know that when the world outside you gets too loud, the loudness can penetrate.  It can make you unstill.

I was drinking the quiet moments  in.

And then he came to my doorway.  He is an instructional aide.  A nice guy.

I’ve had less than a half dozen conversations with him.   But he always says “hello” when we pass in the hallway.  He even gave me a little gift last year, a little toy that he felt some of my more AD/HD students might use to keep their over-active fingers busy.

As he burst my little bubble of quiet mellowness, my initial reaction– on the inside– was “Go away.”

(A fascinating typo when I wrote that last sentence.  My fingers threw a “D” in after the “O”.  Before I fixed it, it said “God away.”  Which is what we do, I think, when we wish people alike that: Christ is in those people, that we banish, too.  When we think to them “Go away” we send “God away.)

The school district I work for is highly political.  At best, I’m a pretty controversail figure in my department.  At worst,  a bunch of them hate me.  But things have been slowly getting better.  Because the  thing is, I’m learning top play the game a little bit.  And it disgusts me.

Because if it had been any of the other teachers standing in the doorway, I would have felt quite differently.

I suck.

I realized it, in the middle of the conversation.  And I tuned into what he has to say.  And I learned that sometimes we create these self-fufilling prophecies.

If I’d expected him to be boring, he would have been.  When I slow down and stop and tune into what he said, though, he was quite interesting.

But that’s not really the point.  If he was the most boring person ever born I’m still expected to make time in my life and in my heart for him.  When I’m feeling busy or stressed out, I have to find time and energy from somewhere else.  I can’t do this at the expense of people.

It’s hard, doing the right thing.


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The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

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