|Image source from www.catholicdadsonline.org|
I think teachers everywhere would agree that one of the most stressful times of a teacher’s usually peaceful and quiet life is the Exam-Making and the consequential Exam-Checking Period. These are the days when inner and social lives disappear, Facebook statuses are either nonexistent or cover their owner’s wall with moans and groans of protest, and teachers bring home three or four bags of work instead of the usual two.
This being a Checking weekend, after hearing mass, my twinnie and I will plunk our derrieres down on a café somewhere in the mall while the rest of the family watches KICK-ASS 2. (Sorry, Chloe, will have to see your balisong wielding skills some other time!)
But this week’s reminder of mortality also made me remember that, as stressful as our lives can get, we should always be grateful that we are still ALIVE. That God woke us up this morning instead of bringing us to Heaven. That we can still feel heat when we perspire in our uniforms, that we can still hear the noise and bustle of the city we live in, that we can still feel adrenaline pump through our bodies when we push ourselves to meet that deadly deadline. That we can still feel the blissful warmth of a cup of coffee after work, that we can still appreciate the incomparable blessing of throwing our exhausted bodies down our soft beds and sleep the sweet slumber of consciences at rest.
Life is full of tension, between Carpe diem and waiting on and trusting in His perfect time, between periods of peace and strife, between calm and discord. The thing is, we will never fully appreciate the quiet times if it weren’t for our brushes with stress and sleepless nights. We cannot appreciate the tranquility of the Andante or Adagio without comparing it to the tumultuous Sturm und Drang. We will never appreciate the comforting rhythms of routine until it is majorly disrupted, interrupted. We will never appreciate the blessing of a peaceful, quiet life until it is threatened.
At present, the tension that I am struggling with the most is the first one I mentioned above. And it goes to show how far I have yet to go on faith, trust and patience. Worrying is a sin, I know, and so is pride. We should welcome and be grateful for the challenges He sends that chip away at these two enormous blemishes in our souls.
I read somewhere that “There are no interruptions. There are only moments when God uses others to knock on our souls.” I especially hate it when things don’t go according to plan, and so this is particularly helpful to me.
As for another helpful motto for contemplation… The Benedictines nailed it on the head with “Ora et labora.” How wonderful that I get the chance to do both today! And we should pray that we can do this, everyday.