By Seton Teaching Fellow, Kiley Farrell
Amen. I could really leave it at the title, and it would say enough. This story starts off at my student’s church in Harlem that my co-teacher and I went to last month. Before going to his church I had only experienced a Catholic mass, so it was great to see people of a different denomination coming together and giving praise to God. The Lord didn’t bring me this far to leave me, was the opening song to their praise and worship portion of their service, and it hit me like a freight train.
God has brought me far: Lincoln, Nebraska to Bronx, New York. He has put me in a position I never really thought I would be in, and I am joyful he did. To be transparent though, it has been tough; newness is always tough, and I am slowly learning to be okay with that. One day I will break through to a particularly difficult student and get them in a great learning mindset, and the next day no “growing pattern” in math will win them over, and chaos starts to erupt. At the end of those school days, I feel like I have failed them. If we don’t get through a math or religion lesson the way that I planned (with halos around their heads); I have failed.
Like most people, I do not like to fail. So I started looking for help in various places, but the best help always comes to me when I make time for God. I have prayed to God for the scholars, teachers and for joy, but the actual time I spend sitting with him has been rare. I finally sat down and listened to Him early morning Saturday. And I learned I have not failed completely, I just haven’t listened. So I listened to something like this:
Fifth graders are fifth graders. I just have to keep loving them like God has kept loving me. They might never acknowledge the love I give, and that is okay. God loves me where I am, and I don’t always notice His love. I am called to love others, no matter what.
There have been days I feel like God has left me here in these city streets, but I know deep down that He was there. He was trying to help me, but I did not know He was there. He was loving me, but like some of my scholars, I did not notice; I chose not to notice.
This week, I will be loved by Him first, so I can do my best to love my students, other fellows and all of those around me. Time is a rarity, but I need to give Him 10 silent minutes, because I know I need that time with Him.
God did not throw me into a plane, far away from the corn to leave me stranded with the mice in the subway tracks. He does not abandon. When we are stressed, frustrated and when we feel like failures, God is loving us. God is the one who gets us up and energized for a new day – every single day. If that is not a beautiful slam-dunk, then I do not know what is. Go and spend some time with Him. Love others, and do not be so hard on yourself. He did not bring us this far, to leave us – He is with us.
Jesus, I trust in you.