Sunday, June 7, 2009

Blog Rerun Episode 19 - Warning - deep thinking, it could be painful!

August 27, 2006 - Sunday
I've found that I've become kind of reflective in my old age. (I know I'm not old) but when you turn thirty you can't help but look back at the choices that you've made in your life and lining them up next to dreams that you have had just to see how everythng measures up. So, that is what I'm in the mood to write about.
When I was in the 5th grade, I was at church camp when I felt like the Lord was calling me into some sort of "full-time" Christian service. (as if there is a part time sort). Anyway, at the time, I was certain that God had just sentenced me to spend all of my adult years as a spinster in China just like Lottie Moon. I felt certain that I was called, but I cried for hours because I felt punished too. I spent the next few years at good old FBC McCamey being taught by the wonderful family of faith that had always loved me. Anyway, God used his body there in McCamey to grow me up, and broaden my view of obedience. I had multiple oportunities to serve others that I would not have every had the chance to experience anywhere else. I was learning about the true definition of being called.
In 1992 my family moved to Houston. My dad was tranfered with his oil company and in those days in light of the late 80s oil bust, any job was worth moving, especially in McCamey. To all of my friends from McCamey who might read this blog, I'll try to explain what the move was like. Every single good thing that you can think of about McCamey that you love and wouldn't trade or change, was bad or missing from life in Houston. BUT, Every single awful thing that you have to put up with when living in McCamey can be fixed by living in Houston.
Even trade
Here's an example, when I was in school in McCamey I got to do EVERYTHING, because everybody did everything. They even let me put on a basketball uniform so I could sit on the bench, and make two baskets (in different games) as a sophmore. I learned to love basketball, but I would have never had the chance in a town any bigger.
When I moved to Houston I got to be in a school choir for the first time in my life. My involvment in the high school choir was where I decided that I really did need to be a music major in college. If I had only ever played the flute in band I never would have made that choice because I knew I could never be a good enough flute player, but I NEEDED to be in choir. High school choir was where I found what I wanted to be a part of in college.
Howard Payne
I loved college!! I got to spend four and a half years in Brownwood Texas, which when you caught between the worlds of McCamey and Houston, Brownwood serves as a fantastic compromise. People from Houston and Dallas call it a little town, but it has a 24 hour Wal-mart, so basically, it was perfect. My major was actually a compromise. My dad did not want me to be a performance major because performance majors are extremely difficult to employ, so he told me that if I was going to major in music I had to get my teaching certification. I was typically very certain of myself in college and although I agreed to major in music ed and never changed my major, and although I couldn't think of anything else to do, being a music teacher fell into the VERY long list of things that I was NOT going to do. I'm not real sure what else I had in mind. I mean, it's not like I had a ticket China in my pocket. My last semester of school ( student teaching) was VERY difficult primarily because I really did not yet believe that I would actually have to get a job, or why I would want one, when my current situation was so nice.....
Houston we have a problem....
I moved back home to Houston in January of 1999 without a job. As soon as I got home I started substitute teaching, which I loved, because you got a new batch of kids every day. Over the next 6 months I worked almost every day. I was convinced in not but a few days that I might actually have to get a job, primarily because I was VERY tired of living with my parents. I had not gotten involved in my local church other than to attend on Sunday, because I was mostly applying for jobs in the DFW area. One day in June, this lady came up to me and said, "Bonnie, you aren't in the choir and that's wrong, you need to be, I'll see you Wednesday night." I sheepishly showed up thinking, I probably wouldn't go back because again I was certain that Dallas was in my future. At the end of rehearsal she introduced me to the whole choir as an unemployed music teacher. At which point this little lady stands up in the alto section across the room and yells out, "I need a music teacher". I interviewed the next day and got the job right then. The next week, that lady went to be the principal at a neighboring school. I've been at my school for 7 years and so this will be my eighth.
Now what...
So now we are at the part of my story where I'm teaching. (the one thing that I was convinced I would never have to do). For over a year, when asked how I liked my job, I would simply say something about how when you work with good people you can do anything. I found my job often teadious and mostly dull. All of my assumptions about being a teacher were proving to be true. I didn't want to like the kids, I didn't want them to like me. I didn't think that teaching music was important. One of the reasons that I had chosen to teach music instead of something else was because I figured if I failed I would n't mess anyone up. Not so with other things like reading or math. (My opinion on this has changed) I also did not know anyone within 5 years of my age in all of Houston. I was very lonely. I was going through the motions of living and was growing increasingly frustrated every day by the lack of significance. I was thinking to myself and asking of the Lord, "Is this REALLY all there is for the calling you placed on my life?".

Obvious answers...
The answer is, of course not. A few months after I began teaching, the Lord put me in the way of a Single Adult Bible study at a church near my school. The Bible study was rich, but just as important was the fellowship. I began to relax. I began to see some of my questions about why I was "stuck" teaching as opportunity for transformation. I began praying for the wonderful people that I worked with each day. I began praying, for my students. Mostly, I began praying that the Lord would change my heart toward my job. The "job" I had been given had so obviously sort of landed in my lap. Only the Lord could have arranged such a moment. There had to be a reason for me to be at this job beyond the reality of making a car payment and paying rent. Slowly but surely as I began looking for "holy significance" in my day, I began to find it. The most amazing thing was that one day I went to sleep as one who worked as a music teacher at a school. The next day I woke up as one who is a music teacher.
My experiences thus far in my teaching career have been extremly rewarding, but mostly ordinary. I tie shoes, wipe noses, and play games for kids who are certainly, as I came to see, among the "least of these". The cost has been high. I have little social life, it's hard to date when you work all the time. My voice is not as nice as it used to be and even if I quit tomorrow, it may never be what it once was. And things, they are a-changing. I would like to teach for a while longer, but I feel the pull of change and will be the most surprised of all if I wake up and find myself years from a "retired music teacher".
OK- so now it's 12:30 am and I'm still typing, so even if I've rambled myself into not saying much of anything, I must stop. I've got hall duty at 7:00 am

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