On doing your job

This week in school was wacky.

There were some schedule changes, unexpected absences, and our hardest math lesson yet – long division is serious, y’all – which took way more time than I planned for.  I spent most of each day saying, “Please, let me do my job and please, do yours.”  I felt like I was in a perpetual game of tug-of-war for authority, fielding questions beginning with, “Can we…” or “What if we…” or “Are we going to…” Questions that are seemingly simple at first, but when fourteen children are openly asking if we can all do things their way…chaos ensues.  Needless to say, I was ready for Friday.

With Daylight Savings Time this weekend, most people cringed at losing an hour of sleep – but for those of us with early-rising babies, it meant a bonus hour of extra baby sleep!  That meant I had time to sit with the Sunday Mass readings early in the morning, sipping a hot cup of coffee as the rest of my family slept.  Believe me when I say, I did not take this time for granted!

As I read, the line that jumped out at me was, “Bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God.” (2 Timothy 1:8) Okay fine, I said to God.  This struggle is simply a hardship I have to bear – please just give me strength.  Admittedly, I glossed over the Gospel account of the Transfiguration, feeling like I knew the gist – Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up the mountain, Jesus is transfigured in full glory, Peter wants to stay there forever, Jesus is all, “No, Peter,” and they walk back down the mountain to resume normal life.  Moral of the story: You don’t grow on the mountain; you have to walk back down into the valley, into the thick of it.

Right?

Well, something (let’s be real, it was the Holy Spirit) prompted me to keep reading and re-reading and re-reading…and then I landed on, “If you wish, I will make three tents here…” (Matthew 17:4) It suddenly hit me: Peter is asking a “Can we…” or “What if we…” question! And the Holy Spirit comes and says, “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased – listen to Him!” (Matthew 17:5) The Lord says calmly, strongly, “Trust me, Peter.  I have a plan.  Let me do my job, and please do yours.

Don’t you love it when the Holy Spirit nudges you?  And once the doors are just a tiny bit open, the Lord comes in and whap! hits you over your stubborn little head with Truth? Throughout this Lent especially, I have been my students, I have been Peter, asking the Teacher, asking the Lord, “Can I…” or “What if I…” in regards to my Lenten promises, which turning out to be quite a bit more difficult than I thought they’d be.

The Lord says calmly, strongly, “Let Me do My job, and please do yours.”

I kept re-reading and, in His goodness, the Lord spoke gently through His Word:

…not according to our works, but according to His design… (2 Timothy 1:9)

            Upright is the word of the Lord, and all His works are trustworthy(Psalm 33:4)

            …a land that I will show you… (Genesis 12:1)

The Lord says calmly, strongly, “Let Me do My job, and please do yours.”

The Lord shows us our sin through what we perceive to be sin in others.  In what felt like a relentless battle with my students this week, He was effectively rubbing my heart raw, until I was humbled enough to receive the grace I needed to recognize that I’ve been fighting Him in the same way.  I see the His plan and I know that it’s good, but I keep asking for one little change here, or just a small break there.

The Lord says calmly, strongly, “Let Me do My job, and please do yours.”

What is my job?

To plan my lessons, and in them infuse beauty, goodness, and truth.  To teach my class with kindness, patience, and mercy, just as He leads me.  To love my daughter and show her the joy of attentiveness and the wonder that comes with independence.  To devote myself to my husband, and to serve him with compassion, because his struggles are my struggles, his triumphs my triumphs.  To come to the Lord in prayer and in the sacraments and to let Him form my heart, my will, and my soul.

The Lord says calmly, strongly, “Let Me do My job, and please do yours.”

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