We moved in to our new house yesterday and spent our first night here last night. What an amazing feeling. I am so thankful. I got the call that we had recorded as I was driving the packed moving van over to the new house. Close call. God provided lots of helpers, and lots of prayer yesterday. I wish I could say that we were "all moved in," but there will be more moving of stuff today, and we may not be "moved in" for months. This has been a 3 year process; and we have moved 3 times in those 3 years. But now we are settled, rooted, and I hope that I NEVER have to move again.
There is no doubt that making transitions is not just difficult in the classroom, but even more difficult in real life. We are in the last hours of a house purchase that has taken 3 years. The seconds tick away like hours; the hours like weeks. Whereas we should be excited about the changes, my wife, the kids, and I are simply stressed out. Good things are happening, but our anticipation of the happenings is wrecking us. So hard to submit when we're so close to the close. But in a few days, God willing, we will be moving and all the current pressure will be replaced by new pressures. God has blessed us in amazing ways through this process. He has provided for us financially, and given us the time we have required to make this transition appropriately for our family. I want so badly to grab control now and cross the finish line with MY foot on the gas pedal. Relax. Deep cleansing breaths. Ahh....
Summer school ends tomorrow. I'm so thankful that it will be over. Teaching summer school once a decade is enough. Still, it was a good experience in many ways. First, I was forced out of my comfort zone teaching a subject I barely remember to a population of students I rarely see on campus. I was forced to work harder than I have worked in a very long time, and that is a very good thing indeed. I reminded myself that I am a competent and dynamic teacher, but not perfect. It's impossible to meet all the needs of any group of students in 11-12 days; but we made some progress. With any luck a few of the students made some progress towards their goal of passing the CAHSEE.
Teaching summer school also gave me something to do while I waited for the house we are trying to purchase to close escrow (it still hasn't closed as of this writing). Without teaching to occupy my time I can only imagine the trouble I could have created for myself. Now I have three weeks until school starts back up again. Plenty of time to pack and move (I hope.)
But first I drive out to Phoenix tomorrow to pick up my daughter who has been staying with my brother and sister in-law for a few weeks. It was 108 here today, and 116 in Phoenix. Should be a fun car trip.
Yes, I am teaching summer school for the first time in a decade. CAHSEE (California High School Exit Exam) ELA (English Language Arts) Review. I have 31 students and 13 IEPs (Individualized Education Plan). The good news is that I also have a full-time aid who is AWESOME (no acronym). I completely underestimated the amount of prep I needed to teach the 4:20 daily course that spans 11 days. So the first few days were rocky. Very rocky. But things are better now. I am enjoying this very different population of students from those who take the multimedia courses. And it's good to be polishing up on my English skills.
I'm heading back to Mexico today on another Hands of Mercy trip. This is my second. Last year's adventure was amazing. This year I am shepherding 20 high school students on the trip. Please pray for us and our safe return. Please also pray for the young single mom and baby boy who are receiving the home.
Elvis Costello is my all-time favorite recording artist. Last year he started a show on Sundance Channel called Spectacle: Elvis Costello with... This season Bono and The Edge from U2 were on as guests. In the course of the interview Bono mentioned Nietzsche's quote about obedience: "The essential thing ‘in heaven and earth’ is. . . that there should be a long obedience in the same direction; there thereby results, and has always resulted in the long run, something which has made life worth living."
As I was surfing around the web trying to figure out what the heck that was all about, I came across this book by Eugene H. Peterson, "A Long Obedience In The Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society," (ISBN: 0830822577). So I asked my wife to give it to me as a Christmas present.
Mr. Peterson examines Psalms 120-134, The Songs of Ascents, and applies them to our lives today. The book was published during my freshman year in high school, but the message is timely and clear. Bono and the Edge must have read Mr. Peterson's book also, because the rumor is that the next U2 album will be called Songs of Ascent.
I am slowly recovering from the emotional wreckage of losing one of my best friends and mentors last month coupled with the sale of my father's house, 10 years after his death. To lose the one and leave the other is just brutal. I am in a funk. Usually at traumatic times like this I can feel the comforting hands of God supporting me. It seems like that feeling should be intensified knowing that my father and my best friend are now with the Lord. God lifts me up everyday, but for the first time in a long time I feel lost. Maybe it's middle age kicking in, maybe it's the lack of any concrete goal in my life right now, or maybe it's the constant barrage of imagery from the devastation all around the world (I was awoken this morning at 4 AM by not 1 but 2 nearby earthquakes). Or maybe this is God's way of building up a desperation inside of me that He will use to achieve his will in my life. I haven't written in a long time either. During the times that I use to write, I now exercise. Exercise is another great outlet and tension reliever. I thought that by the time I reached this plateau in my life that I'd have it all together. But I don't. Sure, I've achieved many of my goals, and I am very proud of that. However, I am still just as broken and messed up as ever. Everyday is a struggle, a battle internally and externally. What scares me is that I now have fewer and fewer mentors and sage guides to go to for clarity and context. Of course I read my bible, and of course I know that I should be celebrating the victory of Christ's death on the cross, and not worried about the day to day struggle. But it's still a struggle, and even with the love of my wife, children, family and friends, I still feel alone in that struggle. So right now I tell myself that I am in that unknowing place between adventures in life. I am waiting for the next mountain to climb. I need to rest and be prepared for whatever the Father brings me next. While I wait I will do my best to rest in the comforting hands of God.