I don’t want to brag but…I do.
Today my student described me as
Confusing, calm, laid back, understanding.
A good teacher.
Another craned his neck to the sky and shouted over everyone,
“He’s going to say my wedding!”
I’ve heard it said that I’m their favorite teacher.
When asked if he would want to be a Jesuit,
One paused curiously —
Imagination triggered — considering,
“I don’t know.”
Another is considering converting to Catholicism.
“I didn’t imagine religion class would be like this.”
Neither did I.
My ego groaned with satisfaction
As I tried to shove it down
Like an excited puppy jumping for attention
that doesn’t know any better.
Let’s get this straight, I’m no passive saint.
I’m an attention hungry, affirmation seeking
I think they feel loved.
What else could I possibly ask for?
I am indescribably happy.
But my gratitude is given
To all the years I was battered down,
Or battered myself down,
To see how incredibly weak, sinful, fickle
Undisciplined, self-centered, and afraid I am.
Being battered, and battering,
The effects and the doing of it
Chipping away at the idea that I alone am something
To venerate, worship, or honor.
Don’t tell me I’m not dark, sinful, and broken.
Don’t you dare take that claim from me.
Because if you do
You will destroy the truth.
The purifying fire that has left my soul parched.
A desert bereft of any comfort but the knowledge that
There is a spring, that now,
Because it is so damn dry,
Can sprout and water everything.
Because dust is all I am
And water is my baptism.
Dust and water
Now fertile ground.
Nothing without the water
Which is everything.
So thank God for my dust.
Thank Jesus for the water
At the well where prostitutes come
To hear of this water for them.
I don’t want to brag…
but I do,
In my weakness;
The source of the beauty my students behold
Radiating out of me like a star
That takes your breath away
And tells you life is beautiful and good and alive
And free and worth it and different and everything good