One Month to Live: Day 17

When was the last time you were driving and became lost? What happened? Did you stop for directions? What’s your usual response when feeling lost, whether on the highway or in the circumstances of your life?

The last time I remember being lost, I was trying to get from Churrasco’s (which was closed) to another restaurant. I called Ron for directions, since he wasn’t with me. I was frustrated because my dad was with me and he doesn’t like not going exactly where he thinks he is going.

When was the last time you felt passionate about an experience? What were the circumstances? What gifts did you use? What does this experience tell you about your purpose in life?

This is going to sound really strange, but the last time I felt passionate about an experience was last week when I was looking at job descriptions and applying for jobs.

I got excited about the possibility of teaching early English literature and writing. I got excited about not teaching the same class six time (or more) a year. I loved the idea of maybe doing an upper division literature course. Then, when I was working on my application letter, I went back and re-read my conference papers and I got excited about teaching business writing again. I didn’t remember how much fun I had doing that! Reading the school’s descriptions of professional writing, technical writing, and writing across the disciplines, I was thrilled that I might get to teach all those classes. I was a little less excited about teaching rhetorical theory. At Purdue I did not enjoy that. But I went back to my NCSU notes and found I had enjoyed it there. So I could probably make it a course I would enjoy teaching.

Note: I applied for the job and I haven’t heard back yet. But I applied for another job and my cv was sent on to the person I applied for this job from, so I don’t know how that is going to go over. God, please bless me with the answer that will most glorify you through my life.

If we never had any struggles or problems, we would never depend on God and would miss out on knowing what it feels like to have His power in our lives. Not only do our struggles help us rely on Him, but they also help us see what He wants us to do and, in the process, find our way in life.

Many years ago I told Jan that one of the reasons I was so sick (which was all the time back then) was that God used my illness to help me remember to depend on him.

I am not sure that I always allow my struggles to send me back to God. But I think that I am also learning how to use the joy to send me back to Jesus. When I see a beautiful sky or a lovely tree, I thank God.

This book is helping me remember that God loves me and wants my attention. So I am becoming more focused again on talking to God, sharing with him, and enjoying him in my life.

Five gifts.

Reading. Writing. Teaching. Listening. Hospitality.

In what ways does your current job reflect your passion? If you knew you only had a limited amount of time to live, would you want to continue in this line of work?

I love teaching. I am passionate about it. I have worked hard to be a good teacher. I am still working hard to learn the ways that I can be a better teacher. I’ve mentioned somewhere else in this blog, that I love this job so much that I would continue to do it, even if I didn’t get paid. (Here and here.)

I was asked last year to teach a high school class. I love high school students and get along well with them, but I am not gifted at teaching high school students. (Which is certainly a struggle as a homeschooling mom.) So I chose not to teach it. But I did teach little kids and grown ups still.

So, if I had a month to live, would I keep teaching? No. I would go in there and give my last lecture ever and cover everything I believe and know to be true that I feel they need and would listen to. It might not be everything they need to know, but it would, I hope, start them in the right direction. Something like this:

But if I had a year to live, yes, I would keep teaching. I would trade on that dying to hopefully get to teach a course or two of literature and I would try again to pass on my love for reading and writing to the students in my class.

I always try to equip my freshman to write any paper they will need for all their undergraduate days. I would continue to do that, but instead of a narrative essay, we would work on writing letters, a lost art, and write and mail letters to people who need to know that we are thinking of them. Perhaps we would continue that focus all year long and write many of our papers in such a way that they could become part of a correspondence. Or maybe we would write papers that look at things they need to know and be doing. Search the literature as a class project and find out what the lessons are for staying married long term. Everyone then has access to the same articles, but all have to write their own research papers from the information. It might provoke some interesting discussions. Hmm… I wonder if I could do this in some fashion now? (Think about this.)

Think through the handful of people who have helped you most in your life. How have their struggles, disappointments, and trials benefited you? What did they share of these experiences that made you stronger? Now prayerfully consider sharing one of your struggles with someone this week as a means of encouraging or motivating that person.

Hmm. Bee helped me, but not with her struggles. I don’t even know what any of those were. Paula’s struggles were what brought our friendship into reality, but I’m not sure I really knew her struggles until this last year. Angie’s struggles… she has shared those. She is an amazing woman and maybe one of the reasons I feel able to share my struggles with her is that she also struggles. Amy… Ah, Amy’s struggles have helped me in the same way. Lynne’s struggles have brought me to where I want to be her friend. And those same struggles made me feel able to talk about my mother with her.

An interesting point.