Today I recieved my official pink slips. My principal called me into his office and told me how much he wished he didn’t have to do this. He said all the nice things he could say—we will try and do everything we can to bring you back, you are one of our best teachers, etc. I asked him some of my own questions and expressed my gratitude for being able to start my career at this school and said goodbye. The experience sobered me to say the least. Its strange, this layoff could lead me down one of three roads–to a better school and a better career or to a challenging season (hopefully) of substitute teaching until I could land another teaching job, or to a humbling season of unemployment before another fork in the road that could get better or worse. I pray for the former but I am planning now how I will handle all three. I took a really detailed and scientific personality test a while back that definied me as an introverted, perseptive, equally logical and emotional, planner. I plan. And I have to write out my plans on paper over and over again for myself to process and feel like I have things under control. I can’t tell you how many times I have calculated my expenses and budget if I have to live on unemployment or if I had to live on substitute teacher income, or if I got a job at another highschool making what I make now. I have three plans on how to handle the three possible : the best, the best of the worst, and the worst.
The best: I save my money from not paying rent for the next three months and get a nice nest egg for an apartment and move out at the end of summer back to Oceanside so Kanan can stay with his current daycare provider who has become like a grandmother to him. I’d commute to whatever job I found unless of course it was super far away which in that case, I would just have to move out anyway. If the prospective school district pays me a salary equivalent or more than I make now, I’ll be good.
The best of the worst: I pull Kanan out of daycare the two work days I have him and take care of him myself (This part is actually awesome! Its just the rest that makes it suck because of the instability and lack of professional development). I substitute teach the three other work days in the Oceanside School District because with my current contract, they legally have to pay me a daily rate equivalent to what I make now. I’d stay at my folks house and slam out payments on my car to get that paid off so that if I don’t find permanent work I could eventually move out while making less money because I would free up 250 dollars to use toward an apartment. I’d have to save a lot though to get me through the school breaks where I wouldn’t work. And I’d might have to take a summer job to get me through that 10 week dry spell if I couldn’t save enough.
The worst: If there are no sub jobs, I’ll live on 1800 dollars a month as long as I can while actively seeking employment and if I cannot find employment making decent money, I’d go back to school, volunteer, take some mission trips, and make the most of my time without work. Of course, this option would also require me to take Kanan out of daycare and spend time with more (which is a plus, of course). In the end, if this phase only lasts a season and I do end up teaching again with a permanent position within a year, than it could be a blessing in disguise because of my time I could use spending time with my son during special moments I could never get back.
So at this point, I have to surrender the rest to God. I can’t make anyone of these happen. I can only apply my reaction once that becomes the road I will clearly have to take. I suppose what scares me most is that this is the first recession I have ever experienced as an adult. And given that I am a conservative, I obviously don’t like see the road our government and society is going down in addition to watching my state and my country slip further and further into debt (which no one likes, regardless of political views). So I can’t help but feel a bit of doom and gloom when it comes to the future. Of course I know God will make sure my son and I eat and are sheltered as I said in my previous post, but there are people out there who have had a number of negative changes take place in their lives that have lead them to be on welfare or some other support system and I can’t help but think that if this could happen to other people, it could certainly happen to me. I am not special or above anyone else. Circumstances happen and great men fall. I have never been great, but if great men can fall then I could fall. The key is finding joy and happiness no matter the consequence. Will I let my happiness be determined by happenings? Or will I remain joyful despite it all because my joy comes from things not of this world? Shouldn’t I stop asking God to serve me and instead ask Him how I could serve Him? Who is Lord after all?
I don’t understand how some people (including my self at times) can live this life without thinking constantly of why they are here or of what purpose they should serve, and where they will go afterward. There is no way this all happened by accident. Chance leads to chaos. Yet there is order. All of physics cannot explain what holds the universe together–and why everything doesn’t just explode. Our cells look like outer space. Our atoms look like outer space. There is a pattern. There is a design. We were made. And if we are made then there must be a reason. And this creator must be loving because we all have an ideology of good vs evil. The sun rises every morning. Life keeps going. Our creator has not then forgotten us. And because there is evil then there is also good. You cannot have one without the other. And evil is only the absence of good, so good must be the quality that everything must be measured against. And given that we have free will to do good or evil there must be some consequence for doing evil. And given that all of us have done evil—either by hurting others with words or actions or hurting ourselves to various degrees, we are not all good. So there must be consequences for everyone. And if our creator is so loving and obviously made us for a reason, he would do anything he could to save us. So it makes sense that he would choose a group of people from this world and counsel and direct them—tell them about a savior that would come and save everyone through them if they let Him. And it makes sense that the only one good enough to take our place so we wouldn’t deserve death would be the creator himself. God created the world with his word. And Christ is God’s word, come down to teach and to free us. And when he left for a season, he sent the holy spirit to dwell in the heart’s of those who put their trust in Him. And this spirit will counsel us just like he did and connect us with our creator until he chooses to restart the world again. But this time with people who chose him. He couldn’t make us love him. There is no real love in that. Love is a choice. He had to give us that choice first.
Many people, myself included for so many years walk around this planet like zombies. We don’t put too much thought into why we are here and what we should do with this life. We think that this life is all about finding pleasure. No…..no one remembers or benefits from someone who is only after pleasure. I want purpose in my life. I don’t want my life to be of me constantly seeking happiness. Because I will never have enough. People seek to fill themselves with distractions of this truth and rarely give themselves time to ponder and figure out the truth. Yes truth exists! Am I better than everyone else because I know this? No….I’m thankful that God called me and I listened. But I still struggle. I slip back into zombie mode everyday until His Holy Spirit whispers the truth into my ear again and pulls me back to center. Rinse, repeat. Rinse, repeat. And so goes my life until I go home.
So does any of this matter? Does my job and my house and my income matter? No. I need to keep reminding myself that. And no matter what road I end up going down, I will praise my God for being there to help me through it. He will purify me and make me a better person through whichever way he pleases. Who am I to say my way is better? That is like my two year old telling me his way is better. My answer to him in those moments is that he just doesn’t understand and he needs to trust me. I am an infant. I do not understand this world because I did not make this world. So why don’t I trust my creator every second of the day with my life? Does not the painter understand the painting better than the painting itself?
Gah! Okay, I just went off on an existential rambling that I hope you, my dear readers understand. This is my conclusion—I have plans. But my plans mean nothing because I cannot control what happens. And I must keep reminding myself that I should not let my happiness be determined by my happenings because God has so much more purpose in my life than just seeking pleasure. And through that, I need to trust my Lord and stop trying to take the wheel from him. I think planner is just a nicer word for control freak!