So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
-F.Scott Fitzgerald from The Great Gatsby
The green light is my first tattoo. I chose it for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is one of literature’s greatest symbols of hope. It also reminds me to consider what I am chasing and expecting to make me happy. And finally, it’s a reminder that my past does matter and influence my future, but that does not have to be a negative thing.
So I accepted a job. And I’m really excited, but also really freaked out. I’d been laboring over and creatively problem solving that decision for about a month. It’s teaching band part time; that means doing what I’ve wanted to do since the sixth grade, growing a program, using my skill set, and being totally in my element. But it’s so part time that once taxes are taken out, I will probably be making about $10 less than my rent each month, to say nothing of other bills and expenses. This is not the school’s fault, it’s just how things work at small private schools. The good news is that the band program has not been built up for many years, so there is lots of room for me to make it grow and get closer to full time next year. The staff is awesomely supportive, and the parents very involved. I can probably get enough students doing music lessons to be able to supplement my income, so everything should be ok. But it’s scary.
The day I made the decision to take the job I was reading in Joshua 1-5. In the first chapter, Joshua is being commissioned to take over leadership of the Israelite people. These passages have always been very encouraging to me. Four times in one chapter (and several other times in surrounding chapters) Joshua is told to ‘Be strong and courageous’, to go and do what he has been commissioned to do. To take the land, follow the law, and not be frightened because God is with him.
Immediately following Joshua’s commission, he has to take the Israelite people across the flooding Jordan river. There is no way to cross without a miracle. But before the miracle can occur, before God stops up the water, the priests must walk ahead into the river. Sometimes you have to get your feet wet before God acts. We can’t expect God to do all the work; often, we have to step out in faith before we see him working.
This is why I took the job. I know it’s the right place for me to be. I know that God will provide. And as Pastor John says, “You can’t steer a parked car.” God will provide, but it’s still up to me to put myself in a place where I need him to provide. And it’s still up to me to find students to take lessons. God is not the wish-granting-genie-god. (The world is not a wish granting factory? Eh? Anyone?) Instead, he gives us the opportunity to be co-laborers with him. And given the choice, I certainly prefer a challenge over having things handed to me. And so, the next step in the adventure begins.
I am officially a band teacher. More on that tomorrow, but here’s how it all happened.
I’ve been trying to run every morning. (Note: Trying to run has as much to do with my athletic ability as it does with getting my butt out of bed.) I got back from my run (read: walked half the distance) one morning, and as soon as I finished stretching, I got a call from the school I was waiting to hear back from. It was 8:36. We talked for about 10 minutes about the position, I accepted it, and then was invited to new teacher orientation at 9am that same morning. It was now 8:46. I live approximately 35 minutes away, and I was still in my running clothes.
I had planned on showering after my run. One of my roommates is training for a triathlon, and I have been swimming with her. In the Willamette River. Where fish grow 3rd heads. (Wait, 2 isn’t normal? Oh, Portland.) I had forgotten to shower the previous night (gross, but another roommate had just bought The Rescuers, so I was distracted by reliving my childhood) so I have 18 hour old Willamette on me, and am sweaty from my run. I have 15 minutes to get to the school before orientation. I changed in a whirlwind, forgoed (forewent?? Really, spellcheck?!) the shower, and got there 20 minutes late. Thankfully they were still waiting on another new teacher and the atmosphere was rather informal.
But as I was speeding down the freeway, I decided to make sure my earrings were still in. I was pleased with myself for thinking to wear them as I was basically doing a Wonder Woman change. The fleur-de-lis on the shield-shaped earring matched my shirt without being too overtly matchy. This is very well done for someone with my fashion sense. As I reached up to each ear, however, I noticed that the earrings did not feel the same. Somehow, in my haste, I put in two different earrings. Not the first time I’ve done something like that, but at least this time I figured it out before I got to the school. And yes, when I got home I took a shower. But not until after swimming in the river again. Yuck.