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.