Endings & One Unprofitable Servant

Tomorrow, my current school’s seniors graduate. Friday, the (now) seniors from my closed high school will be remembered at the parish that survived the school’s closing.

I don’t do endings well. It’s ironic, as I’ve been getting a lot of practice in them.

When I came to my present community, I was entrusted with the care of the freshman class, as sole counselor, class moderator, and teacher. Tuesday morning, I officiated at the award ceremony for those young men and women. At the end of that ceremony, the principal said some kind words of recognition. I think he felt badly for surprising me that morning with responsibility for the ceremony. It was sobering and wonderful to stand in that auditorium and look at the young people I’ve tried to serve, as they clapped and a few cried.

It’s hard for me to think I’d be worthy of tears. I look at what I’ve done, and I don’t see all that much that warrants notice. I’ve tried to do my best, to bring God closer in a more real and understandable way, and to train them to be critical thinkers and expressive writers. I’ve tried to be a presence of Christ and a model of righteousness. I know very well, living in this skin, the many thoughts that prove I’m not the latter.

Jesus once said, “So you also, when you shall have done all these things that are commanded you, say: ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done that which we ought to do.'” Luke 17: 10

Have I lived up to the talent given? With great blessing comes great responsibility. I find it difficult to believe–given the abundance of the blessings I’ve received as gift–that I’ve wrought the full good I could.

Yet, dealing with the heartbreak life hands us sometimes requires we methodically put one foot in front of the other, and carry on until the heart or soul recovers. Maybe that is why I don’t do endings well. Maybe I use duty as a shield against sentimentality. Maybe I just don’t think all that much of who or what I am. There are many things far more important.

At the end of one path, looking tentatively to the next, I see once more much in the way of Gift. I’ll have a job I love doing for pay that’ll make a family possible…if I’m ever able to bring myself to the point that I can get my heart unstuck.

I see two battles before me; one intensely personal (having to do with the aforementioned “stuck heart”), the other attempting to deal with the mentalities and entrenched administrators that seem bent on systematically destroying Catholic education in this Archdiocese.

Though I’d like to be, I’ve never much felt like one of the sheep of Christ’s fold. There’s much of the wolf in me. In childhood and adolescent fights, when I shed blood in defense of others, I realized I was a wolf that preyed on other wolves. I saw my role as that of a defender of the weak. Time to dust off those aggressive tendencies…

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