GOD WORKS MIRACLES, Y'ALL.
Sometimes it takes things getting a little rocky to show you how firm your roots are. I know that has proven to be true for me in one specific year. Let me set the scene: the year is 2019, and I'm watching my parents move to a new state, my senior year of college fly by, and my friends move off to big cities to do great things. Not to mention, I also watched my own hometown disappear from the rearview mirror not too long ago as I headed out on my own adventure out West. And moving across the country is no easy feat, let me tell you, but we’ll save that for another post. Today I want to talk about what has kept me sane through all the change that’s been brought my way these past few months.
I’ll be the first to tell you God works miracles, y’all. And this move and this calling I feel is without a doubt one of the biggest miracles that I’ve been privileged to witness in my life. Let me start from the beginning, though…
As all good stories do, this one started in a period of waiting that we Christians lovingly refer to as Lent, every Christian’s favorite season (not). This Lent for some reason just wasn’t as fruitful for me, but I had chalked it up to God teaching me important lessons (like humility) that aren’t as exciting as others. That is, until I got a phone call the night of Holy Thursday that kind of changed everything.
I had just received a job offer the day before from a local public school in my hometown, and I was considering if I should accept it or wait out another school that was essentially my “dream school,” a Catholic high school in downtown Columbus called Cristo Rey. The call I received that Thursday was from a similar school, but out here in Denver. The Denver school honestly hadn’t been high on my list up to that point because it was the furthest school I’d applied to and I really didn’t know much about Colorado. However, the idea of moving out West had been growing on me in the last month after I took a spontaneous trip to California and hiked Yosemite. Funny how God works that way…
Anyhow, back to the call. The principal from the Denver school was asking to interview me over the phone, which shocked me because he was also a priest and was calling on a holy day. The interview went really well, but I was still tossing around my options in Columbus and had to make my decision about whether or not to accept the public school position by the following Monday. On top of that, I had no idea when I’d hear back from the Denver or Columbus Cristo Reys. Little did I know, though, God had everything figured out.
That same weekend, I received an email from Cristo Rey Columbus that they were no longer accepting math teacher applications, but they had recommended me to the school in Denver. So that helped my decision a little…at least I could cross one school off the list, right? But I still had a huge choice to make—work a secure job in Columbus where my family lives and build up experience in the district, or take a chance on a school outside of Ohio, where I hadn’t even received an offer yet. Needless to say, I went to bed the night before Easter feeling pretty torn and not only a little stressed.
Before I move on (even though I’m sure you all know how this story ends), I do want to mention that through all of this, God kept calling me closer to Him. I attended Holy Thursday Mass where I got my feet washed and had some close friends pray for me, I worshipped at Good Friday liturgy, and I had a friend refer me to some discernment resources, too. I even took a drive through the Columbus suburb I’d be working in that Saturday to see if I could see myself there. But I knew in my heart that it just didn’t fit. Even so, I was definitely nervous on Easter about the decision I’d have to make the next day.
That Sunday, I got the email that would change everything. It was an offer from the Denver school, sent by the principal (who, remember, is a Catholic priest doing business on what is arguably the holiest day of the liturgical year). Not only that, but they wanted me to come out and visit the school in the coming weeks to see if I felt comfortable there—and they were going to fund all of it. I immediately called my mom, and I couldn’t hold it together for more than a minute before we were both in tears. Sure, I didn’t know if this particular school was the right fit for me, but this was all the sign I needed to give me the courage to turn down that hometown offer and see what Christ had in store for me outside of Ohio. It was enough for me to turn down the comfortable and go for the adventure, to turn down the good and go for the great.
This is all fine and good, but I do want to speak to those of you reading who are struggling with hearing God’s voice or seeing Him work in your life. You aren’t alone in the silence you feel, and as cliché as it sounds, He is working behind the scenes in this period of waiting. He’s forming you to be ready for your own big adventure, and this is only part of the story. Like Leviticus, there are chapters in your book that might not be huge adventure stories in their own regard, but that will pave the way for bigger and better things to come. And as Fr. Greg Boyle has said, think about the place you’re in not as a dark hole, but as a tunnel, and the light at the end is there, even if you can’t see it just yet. So be patient, be steadfast, and keep Christ in control.