Wednesday, April 24, 2013

There and back like Bilbo Baggins?? Truth is... I never left.

Many of you have heard my story, feel my words take life as they jump off the page when ever I am asked. I tell my story.  It's mine to tell and while I have been the main protagonist, the hero of my adventure and underdog of the challenging crossroads, there have also been antagonists, antiheroes and decision makers that worked very hard to leave a blotchy ink print on my story.

Eh, so what? Today I celebrated my story. Today I was reminded of aspects of my story that some judged. Today, I appreciated and celebrated my story with renewed commitment to my vocation, my career path, my personal journey, my real friends, all my loyal companions on this journey. Loyal followers of my story.

In a prayer service with my community of educators, we publicly committed and re-commited ourselves to an educational philosophy several embraced whole-heartedly. To most of us it is not just work related, it's a way of life. We are committed to Catholic and Marianist Education, specifically, Catholic higher education. Our commitment is to asking questions, to seek and discover new knowledge, while educating to serve others. We educate for justice, with a responsibility to community, ours and theirs... faceless brothers and sisters that don't have a voice or access to the possibility of what our learning spaces can provide. Magic.

We have faith. We believe in a greater being that gave us a gift. The gift of life, or of learning, is not for us to keep. The gift we receive, we give as gift. That is what we believe in and we hope that everyday this same seed is planted for our students to be nourished with.

One distinctive quality we maintain is a sense of stability. Stability may be measured by movement, physical or emotional perceptions, decisions and outcomes.

The stability of a program may be measured by the success of its purpose, strategy. Stability of a person? Usually by staying put- physically. Well, in my case, I have learned to embraced a holistic view of stability. While some people may be judged and labeled as stable because they have never left one place, never dared to move across the country, needless to say stand out of their comfort zone. "My, she is very stable- everything must be "together."'  He, on the other hand has moved all over the place, make decisions that are perceived by all who know him as lacking depth and common sense. He is impulsive and forward-thinking. His energy is contagious, yet questioned. He is goal-oriented and always challenges himself to ask questions and to want more. He usually wants and strives for that very thing others say he can't have. They say... "my, he is a little unstable." However, there is a common thread, a chain linked by something bigger than him. A belief, a promise...

They way I see this and how it all relates to my story is that I have a common thread, my own unbreakable chain and the "thing" bigger than me and my adventures of going there and back, like Bilbo Baggins. My stability comes from my commitment to this educational philosophy. Since I went through formal formation, May 2005, I have lived it, prayed about it, and through its intercession, I am the educator and pathetically committed college-geek that I am. I left and came back. I left again and you know what--- it left with me. I came back again to work and live in an environment of knowledge and scholarship beautifully blended in compassion and leadership. All of this pointing to the direction of making and shaping the leaders of tomorrow. Cliche, right? Bring it... 

The truth is, and today I proved it, I might have left the physical space and community I was a member of for years and now I am back, loving every minute of it. We may leave our homes after we become adults--- some people never really leave and that's OK---we may change jobs, ministries, even leave our churches or religious denominations. The question is do we really leave certain things behind? I don't think so. Some memories are stronger than others and therefore, difficult to forget. This is certainly not about dwelling in the past. This is about the voice that stays with us; the thread that weaves our beliefs, likes and dislikes, the gut feeling that talks to us and the heart that beats and makes us who we are. No matter where we go, no one can take that away from us.

That is what stability means to me... so the truth is, I took it with me. It never left me, therefore, I never left.

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