Sandy Hook and Moore, OK: Tragedy, Destiny, and Peace

This year, we’ve borne witness to men and women, almost a continent apart, shielding the bodies and spirits of those in their care under the most horrific of circumstances. I am speaking of the teachers.

There had been no training for this, their time of trial, and precious little warning. Destructive force in both instances was unleashed with brutal effect against our most vulnerable. Those forces were, however, met pound-for-pound and more so by a quiet and equally determined opposition – teachers serving as living embodiments of the best among us.

These are people, charged with the careful nurturing of our children, who have elected to serve in what is a calling more than a job. Clearly, the driver is not money. Or fame. Or power. It is the mission of reaching and safeguarding those entrusted to them.

Even as I admire their heroism, I find myself marveling at their certainty. These are people doing what they were meant to do.

The comedienne, Paula Poundstone, once said that “the reason adults ask children what they want to be when they grow up is not because they are curious; it is because they are looking for ideas.” In illustration of her point, Jim explained, in one of the interview asides from an early season of The Office, why he felt he had to move on. “Right now, selling paper is my job. But if I stay here 5 years, it becomes my career. I don’t think I can handle that.”

So few of us, at least in my experience, know in our hearts that we are doing what we were meant to do. We fill too many jobs and hear too few callings. The convention, among those in the workforce, seems to be “it’s too late for me.” Maybe that sentiment is combined with a wish for a child to do better at finding joy and purpose. I submit that’s a cop-out.

We are blessed to live in an age and an area rife with educational possibilities.  With a few clicks, one can find learning opportunities for every field of endeavor.  There is, in other words, no excuse for resignation. Regardless of job description, we owe it to ourselves to work each day to stretch job into career and career into calling. Life is too short and the possibilities are too vast not to.

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