Sometimes I hate church. I hate going there and being challenged by God or some human to think a little deeper about life. I hate leaving the pole-barn looking building after sermons like today’s with this nagging doubt that I am not doing what I have been called to do. I hate this feeling. I struggle with it often, as anyone who has read my writing more than once knows. Sometimes I just want to shovel through all my crap and baggage so that I can see in me what God sees in me.
There is nothing with studying literature, but I wonder if there isn’t something more meaningful that I should be doing. I know my students appreciate having me in class because I always get comments about helping them to learn to like English. Frequently, they tell me that I helped them learn about themselves and to see how they fit in with the bigger picture that is the world. Occasionally, I believe them.
I often find myself wondering what type of people generally teach English because I don’t feel like I do anything special. I am excited about my students learning how to express themselves in writing. Are most English teachers lethargic?
This semester my students said they appreciated using blogging and technology in the classroom. I was surprised when many of them put their fingers— without my prodding—on my most immediate pedagogical goal. Several of them wrote in their reflective letters that they foudn it both enjoyable and helpful to write consistently. A couple of them even said they have never had a writing class where they got to write every day. They were able to see how writing every day helped them to carry over from writing project to writing project.
I was appreciative of the level of feedback and serious reflection because I needed to hear that what I am doing is valuable. I needed some positive feedback. I am not usually a person who needs so much positive feedback, but a long, hard semester combined with my continual urge to quit and go farm combined with the intermittent feeling that I am going into the wrong profession, vocation, career made me crave some direction. The positive feedback helps remind me why I do what I do, but sometimes I still have doubts.
I guess that doubt has something to do with the actual words profession and vocation. I don’t perceive what I do to be a calling or something where I profess things I really believe in. I should. I don’t. Yet. Maybe I will one day. Until then I will just hang on to knowing that my students are impacted by me and my passion for literature, writing, and most importantly for them.
Of course, my passion for them comes from God’s passion for me. I can’t understand how deep or how wide that passion is, but I can profess how passion has changed me. I remember who I was, and I know who I am now. So, I love times like advent in which God lets us wait for [Their] miracles. I am moved from looking from the wood of the manger to the wood of the cross. I am overtaken by the fact that God sent his son to the earth just so he could die thirty-three years later to give us grace.
What does that mean for me? It means I wait. I wait for my savior to be born. I wait to sing the news of his birth. I wait to mourn his death. I wait to see how he will work in my life and through my life for another year. I wait with a sense of expectation, joyful expectation to experience moment that I can only make it through by God’s grace.