Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Fortune Inside My Head

  Every morning I leave my apartment to head to the school just as the sun is beginning to rise over the hills around the ol' duplex.  And every morning I pray, "Lord, let my soul rise up to meet you as the day rises to meet the sun.  Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen." I have prayed these words from the Book of Common Prayer every day for the last few months. One might think that such repetition would dull the thought and meaning behind the words.  In my case, one would be wrong.  The constant repetition has served to enhance the fervor with which I pray.  I have always been one of those who sporadically prays for things.  I have always been pretty vigilant about praying consistently, but I have never been consistent in what I pray.  When I pray "Lord, let my soul rise up to meet you" it takes on more meaning than my other, more random prayers, because I'm not just praying, "let my soul rise up to meet you today."  What I'm really praying  is "Lord, let my soul rise up to meet you today, just as yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that."  This prayer has become such a part of my daily routine that it is not just a today thing.  It is a life thing.  Its "Let my life be yours everyday and may I always bring glory to you!"  This is probably clear as mud. What I'm beginning to realize, for maybe the first time fully, is that I have always had such a day-to-day faith that I never realized what a daily faith would look like.  I've spent so much of my time living step by step (which is good and necessary and we should have our eyes on the present) but I neglected the fact that life does not begin and end from day to day, it is constant.  We have to look at each day as a day to continue to seek God and glorify Him, rather than just a way to start fresh.  The work that we begin one day must continue the next. So, when I pray my morning prayer, I'm praising God for the continuous work that He does and not only the new work that He is beginning (as wonderful as that work can be). 
  With all of this in mind, (there is one of my favorite mid-paper lines) the beginning of my day serves as a stark contrast with the way that I feel that the rest of my day goes.  Maybe its just that I'm a new student-teacher, or maybe you can identify with this too, but Jeff Tweedy summed up the way I feel about my days and myself lately. 

Forgive me if I quote too much, but Jeff Tweedy's lyrics have a way of summing up my moods.  This is what a favorite band should do, you  know?  They should be like a best friend-the one you go to when things are great and when things are down.  Thats what Wilco is, musically, for me.  Now to the reason that I'm writing...

"There's a fortune inside your head/ But all you touch turns to lead/ You think you might just crawl back in bed/ With that fortune  inside  your head"
  And there you have it, folks.  My thoughts every morning as I get in my car and head to work, and my thoughts every afternoon when i leave it. I praise God every day, and every day I seek to, through the passing of knowledge and understanding, equip my students to find God themselves.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to corrupt them or be a secret agent for Jesus like certain institutions of higher education have tried to influence me to do.  I believe that all truth is God's truth and if the students can find truth, hopefully, they can eventually find God.   However, every time I try to instruct them (with the "fortune inside my head") it falls flat (all I "touch turns to lead") and I feel like the knowledge that I have of history, government, and God gets flushed due to my seeming inability to communicate it effectively to a class full of students.  I know they "have a God-shaped hole" (another Wilco reference), but I don't know how to help them fill it.  Romans 10:14 says, "How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?"  I would like to ask, how do they learn if they refuse to hear and if they refuse to understand? If my students refuse to hear it, can the truth still affect them?  Can the message of truth still be effective even if the messenger is not? I fall so much when I'm trying to stand up right.  So far, my own deficiencies have been both disturbing and a nice reminder of the goodness of Christ and his supremacy over our weaknesses. With this I will leave you with the words of T.S. Eliot and a reminder that everything will work out because its pizza night at the Strange house and "you still love rock and roll" (yet another Wilco reference from the same song).

   If you came this way,
Taking any route, starting from anywhere,
At any time or at any season,
It would always be the same: you would have to put off
Sense and notion. You are not here to verify,
Instruct yourself, or inform curiosity
Or carry report. You are here to kneel
Where prayer has been valid. And prayer is more
Than an order of words, the conscious occupation
Of the praying mind, or the sound of the voice praying.
And what the dead had no speech for, when living,
They can tell you, being dead: the communication
Of the dead is tongued with fire beyond the language of the living.
Here, the intersection of the timeless moment
Is England and nowhere. Never and always.