Tuesday, March 31, 2015

March 31: Midcareer, God's Love Number Forty-Two, Laurels

Forty-five years old, Ives was considered well into midcareer, and was already thinking about retiring in another ten years or so; there was a grind about the job that was slowly wearing him down, even if he no longer put in the kind of hours he had when he was in his late twenties and early thirties.  That is, he had "spent" a certain amount of his ambition and drive for the agency, proving himself, and now, as with others like Freeman, he'd hoped to eventually reap the benefits:  buy a vacation home in the country, travel, paint, look after his children.  And grandchildren if Caroline married and started her own family.

When his son is murdered, Ives is almost fifty-years-old.  He's had a good life and career.  His kids have turned out well.  He adores his wife and has a close-knit group of friends.  While he hasn't lived out his dreams, Ives is satisfied with his contributions to the world, and he's ready to sit back on his laurels, "reap the benefits" of a life well-lived.  Of course, God has other plans.

That paragraph depresses me a little bit.  I am about Ives' age.  Ives has a career.  Something he can look back upon in his old age with pride.  He's made the world a better place.  I'm not sure I have a career.  All my life, I've had jobs.  Mostly part-time.  Yes, I've taught for a long time.  I have children of former students in classes I teach now.  The principal of my son's elementary school is a former student from a technical writing class I taught many years ago.  Yet, I'm not sure what I've done constitutes a career.

A career, in my mind, is something you do full-time.  You devote all your professional efforts to it.  You take pride in it, and you're rewarded for performing your duties well.  A career is fulfilling.  I've had jobs.  Yes, I love teaching at the university, but I've never called it my vocation.  It's what I love doing.  It's my reward for enduring the tedium of the other jobs I've had.

I suppose I'm luckier than most, however.  I actually get paid to do something I love.  Most people I know punch a time clock, wait for the weekends, and count down the days to retirement.  At the end of this April, when the semester ends, I will be quite sad.  For the next four months, I won't step foot in a classroom.  Those summer months, without the stimulation of student interaction, are always quite difficult for me.

So, tonight, God's love number forty-two are my students this semester.  All of them.  Even the challenging ones.  They make me want to be better all the time.

Saint Marty isn't ready to sit back on his laurels quite yet.

Someone's gotta rest on them!

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