The following reflection is from Ms. Abby Burns, a Seton Teaching Fellow in Cohort 9, who works at Brilla Veritas Elementary.
There I was, sitting criss-cross applesauce on the tiled hallway floor, facing two disconsolate kindergarteners. Tears were streaming down from their big glossy eyes. Another Seton Teaching Fellow, Ms. Madson, happened to walk by while I attempted to calm the students. I looked over at her, she looked back, and we couldn’t help but exchange an exasperated but joy-filled chuckle. I think it’s a moment I’ll never forget: she allowed her day to be interrupted and approached the kindergarteners to ask if they wanted water cups. Both of them nodded an approving yes—their wailing never missed a beat.
Perhaps it sounds silly, but in these ordinary little moments (ones that are not at all uncommon in my life as a Fellow) I am reminded of Christ’s exhortation in Matthew 25:
“Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’ For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.”
In this passage from scripture, Jesus reminds us that “whatever you do for the least of these, you do for me.” Since I started my year of service, I’ve wondered about this brand of attentive and dedicated service that the Lord asks of us. As I ponder moments that punctuate my day, such as the two kindergarteners in the hallway, the more I realize that in order to embody this passage from Matthew, one must become very interruptible. We have to allow the world to break in on us and become part of our existence, just like Ms. Madson was that day in the hallway.
In this season of gratitude, I am grateful, not just for the people and things in my life, but for what God is doing in my life. The Lord is stretching and transforming my heart to realize that living the gospel well can actually be a reality within the very school walls where I serve—and that’s one of the best gifts you can receive.
I am grateful to be interrupted. Christ is truly disguised in the distressed and vulnerable. Christ makes himself present—incarnate in my students and co-workers—and I am grateful for the gift of being able to serve Him through them.
Christ is The Hungry, incarnate in the 2nd grader who asks during my El Camino catechism lesson, “Ms. Burns I am still hungry, can I have a second snack?”
Christ is The Thirsty, incarnate in the disconsolate kindergartener who needs a water cup from a stranger with a warm smile.
Christ is The Stranger, incarnate in the 1st grader who, while giving me a sweet hug in the hallway, looks up to me and asks, “Wait, what’s your name again?”
Christ is The Naked, incarnate in my 2nd graders when I zip up their coats and put on their hats for dismissal.
Christ is The Ill, incarnate in the students with furrowed eyebrows and sick tummies who I walk down to the nurse’s office.
Christ is The Imprisoned, incarnate in my co-worker’s classroom when I watch their students so that they can have a short break.
These are simple analogies, but Christ is present in the simplest of ways, and we should rejoice when we find him in others. Living the gospel is not something to be planned or calculated, especially living as a teacher. Every day is dramatically different. It’s less about having the perfect agenda and more about receptivity and docility to the present moment. The ideal is never the reality, but the reality of the present moment, when I am grateful for it, is always so much better than any ideal I could have imagined.
At the end of my year as a Seton Teaching Fellow, I want to grow into a disciple who not only joyfully anticipates being interrupted by the Lord incarnate, but is grateful for such moments. I want to be able to trust unfailingly that he can be found in every moment, in every interruption. I want to rejoice knowing that whatever I do for the least of God’s little ones, I truly do for Him.
Would you like to find Christ in the everyday? Do you have a heart for service? Want to be challenged to grow in charity and faith? Seton Teaching Fellows is hiring! Check out our application and apply today, or sign up for an info call with our recruitment team to learn more. Happy Thanksgiving!