Detours in the Journey

For the first time in a couple of years, I’m not preparing to start a new school year. No bulletin boards to plan, no meetings to attend, no thoughts on what I’ll be doing the first days of class. Another transition time for me, going back to subbing instead of teaching every day. It is a part, perhaps a detour, in this journey of my life.

I sometimes wonder if I made the right decision nine years ago when I decided to retire. I was fifty-one years old at the time and after much contemplation, felt it was the thing to do. I’ve had the opportunity since that point to fill eleven interim positions, ranging in duration of several weeks to three-fourths of the school year. And I’m thankful for each one of those opportunities I’ve had.

Of one thing I am sure – in each situation I’ve found myself in during my post-retirement years, I’ve been exactly where I was supposed to be to fill in for whatever the length of time was to be. I know subbing from day-to-day will be different, but once again, feel that’s a part of my journey as well.

And God only knows what the coming school year will hold. I hold my faith in Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the┬áLord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

To Be or Not To Be: The Good Samaritan

I’ve been thinking recently about my response when I’m out and about and someone asks for money. This on the heels of our Gospel lesson and excellent sermon on the story of the good Samaritan this past Sunday. Earlier this week, I was approached at a convenience store by a man who said he needed “money for he and his wife to get home,” and I responded that I didn’t carry any cash on me, which was a lie. And yes, I wondered whether I had made the right choice in my response.

So this morning I’m given another opportunity to test the lesson learned in church on Sunday. I’m in a Dollar General getting some items and am approached by a man who simply says “How are you doing?” I responded “Just fine.” He was carrying a package of socks and seemed to be looking for some other items.

The man said that he realized he was a black man (which to me, at least, didn’t make any difference) and related that he’d just been released from prison. He showed me his ankle bracelet as proof of his story. He told of several places that he’d been to for assistance and showed me a card where he had applied for a job. And yes, he wanted to know if I had any spare change.

Without hesitation, I opened my wallet and saw that I had a $10 bill, which I gladly gave to him. He seem somewhat hesitant when my opened wallet revealed a police badge, which I carry as a reminder of my son, who is a police officer. He thanked me kindly and asked that Jesus bless me. As I approached the check-out, he was in front of me in line. I shared with him several organizations that might be of help and told him it might be best to stay away from one establishment where he had applied for a job. We both then went on our way.

So the story in Sunday’s sermon had played itself out twice in my life. In one case, I didn’t offer assistance, in the other I did. I cannot tell you why I chose to respond in the way I did. I guess intuition has a lot to do with it. And knowing that we’re always given a second chance in this life.

I saw that the man had been able to purchase a few more items with the funds I had given him. As I left, I saw the vehicle he was going to be returning to and on this day, although I didn’t think to say it, I hope Jesus blesses him as well.

David Lee

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Trusting in the Journey…

Life can have many twists and turns. There are all kinds of plans you can make, but ultimately there’s little control you have over the outcomes of what lies ahead. Not that plans aren’t good to make; just don’t get your heart and mind set on a specific outcome.

Case in point: Nine years ago I decided to retire from the teaching profession. I had no concrete plans as to what I would do with my time, but thought it was time to retire. Now here I am, nine years later, still in the classroom on a daily basis.

My short term goal was to substitute teach from time-to-time. While that has been a part of the journey, there have been other opportunities I’ve come upon. Eight maternity leaves, two surgical leaves, one assignment that last 3/4 of a school year, and another that lasted 1/2 a year. None of which were in my plans, but made their way to me.

For the past two years, I’ve been teaching all day, half a day. It’s a job I’ve really enjoyed and like to think I’ve done a good job. But due to circumstances that have nothing to do with my performance, that assignment will come to a close at the end of this school year. And once again, I’ll go back to substituting….at least that’s my current plan.

I have faith in a God that knows exactly what’s going on in my life. And if it’s to the better good of myself and others, another opportunity will present itself. I know that regardless of what is in front of me, there is a Good Shepherd who watches over me. And that makes all the difference in my life perspective.

I am thankful for the many opportunities I’ve been given and hope that I’ve made a lasting, positive impression on those whose lives I’ve come into contact with during this time. I’ll keep my eyes opened to the future with the assurance that all will be well and that I’m never alone in my journey.

David Lee

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