At times I am a huge grump about my placement. There are legit days when, as I ride my bike on my thirty-second commute, my mantra is, I don’t want to be here, I don’t want to be here.
It’s really awful, I know. I am blessed to be a part of a supportive community as with the Sisters and other volunteers. I am enormously blessed in general. But sometimes, my heart is in a low place, my shoulders are burdened, and I dread the day ahead surrounded by people and at-risk youth, knowing that I’ll be spread thin even more thanks to my introversion.
But other days I am exuberant. Some times I really, supremely love my niche in the kids’ lives, regardless of how positive or negative my interactions are with them. Some times, I will spend an entire class period with one student, guiding, redirecting, teaching and talking with them, and it is so natural — ! I find that I enjoy this singular time, and to a degree, I am good at it. Knowing that I am potentially a positive part of their treatment is extremely satisfying, and so much more awesome to me considering how hard this experience has been. It is the type of encouragement that gives me a deep peace about my placement, and it is the type of fruit that seems to confirm God’s direction in it.
I don’t know why there are these extremes, but I do know that the latter experience is becoming as prevalent now, in the last weeks, as the former was in the first months. Praise God for my gift of perseverance — truly, it is an unmerited gift. Without it, I would not have come this far. This kind of peace is, I believe, a taste of that which surpasses all understanding, and it hums lively in my work and community life. I imagine that as I run toward this seemingly elusive, Godly peace of my mind and soul, it trickles in small ways into other aspects of my life, such as my daily interactions with children that intimidate me or my living community that is beginning to resemble family.
Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand…
– Philippians 4:7
It is because of this peace I received recently that I now want to pursue a vocation working with youth. It may not work out. There are a number of other paths I pursued in the past because I felt drawn or convicted by God, that blatantly failed, and seemed to only serve as a means to humble. Of course, there is still time yet to reap the fruits of those failures, just as there is a lifetime ahead of me to reap the fruits of my successes. Each venture I pursue, however, shows me less cocky, less prideful and less naive, which I may only attribute to God’s graceful direction, my better self-discipline, and my subsequent growth from both. What comforts me this time is the peace of understanding that despite closed opportunities and wayward paths, my vocation will always be, as I exist, a lover of God and of people. I will always have provision to pursue that vocation and as such, I hope it will remain my primary one, the job I pursue above all of the acceptance and approval of men.
Perhaps this teaching path is not so clear, and definitely not without doubt, but I am solid in knowing that no matter what the outcome, it does not define me, and that understanding is leaps and bounds away from my perspective merely a year ago.