Kirk: Captain of the Enterprise, huh?
Picard: That's right
Kirk: Close to retirement?
Picard: I'm not planning on it.
Kirk: Well let me tell you something. Don't! Don't let them promote you. Don't let them transfer you! Don't let them do anything that takes you off the bridge of that ship, because while you're there...you can make a difference.
Star Trek Generations 1994
I am going to geek out right now. I am going to talk about Star Trek and teaching and churchy stuff. I have never claimed to be anything but a nerd and I'm afraid today it is really going to show.
I love Star Trek. Love. Before my husband and I were burdened (blessed!)with these children and their constant need for food and clothing and supervision, we used to go to Vegas often and stay at the Hilton because of Quark's Bar. (Side note: When they opened the Star Trek Experience there we went with several other friends that were fans of the show and one friend who was indifferent but was just along for the ride. She says one of her favorite memories of us is the look on our faces when we stepped onto the bridge of the Enterprise for the first time. "Pure dumbstruck joy", she called it.) I have named my pets after characters. I have downloaded apps to make my electronic devices sound more like tricorders. I have a favorite captain (Long Live Picard!) and have to been known to order my tea, "Earl Grey...hot". We have Star Trek uniforms (which we only wear on Halloween, swearsies!). I do not go as far as some (I know no Klingon) but find it difficult to pass up the stray episode or movie when flipping channels no matter how late it is.
There are several quotes that have stuck with me throughout the years, one of them being the quote above. It seems to sum up how I feel about education. Truly great teachers can be almost miraculous forces in the lives of their students, and while we always need good people higher up I always felt the loss of the truly great classroom teacher who got promoted quite keenly. It was on the bridge (as it were), in the day to day reality of the classroom where those teachers really made a difference. I can't claim to have ever been in the "miraculous" category, but did always feel that it there was no other place I was called to be in education but in the classroom, face to face with the kids. It was there that I felt I could do the most good, where I could make a difference.
I am sure this is true with other jobs. Nursing? Police Officers? Priests?
You guys, our parish priest is one of the great ones.
When we first moved here I was new to Catholicism. Well, that's not true. I had been a Catholic all my life but had taken a taken a leave from it for a good long while. I had spent most of my adult life with a hefty portion of doubts. I was suspicious. Uncertain. Jaded. It wasn't until my children were born that I had started to reconsider Catholicism, to re look at things I had dismissed previously and see them with a new light. I had just celebrated the sacrament of Confirmation before we moved, just started to feel like maybe there was something here that was real.It is more accurate to say that Catholicism felt new to me.
And then we came here. To a faith community that is welcoming and encouraging. I've made friends here that have listened to my doubts, to my questions and shared with me their own. I have felt supported and loved and my faith has grown and solidified from something that was slippery, precarious, something that might disappear under too much scrutiny or trial to something strong, steady, almost tangible.
Father Steve was a big part of that. The honesty, humor, faith, and love he brings to each Mass (and to all the other things he does as our parish priest) are truly inspiring. He has helped to create a community here that is unlike anything I've ever been a part of. He is only a part of this, of course, we are all responsible, but he is an important part. He is loved by parishioners and students of the school and has touched the lives of so many of us. More than just talking the talk (his homilies are good y'all!) he walks the walk. He has helped create that feeling of "home" in our church, helped us all feel welcomed and loved on (at least) a weekly basis. He is an excellent parish priest.
And they went and promoted him for it. We are heartbroken. And yet:
"Change is the essential process of all existence" -Spock
As much as I am selfishly sad for our loss I am happy as well. Because he is going to be really good at what they want him to do. Amazing actually. I know he will make a difference there as well. It would have been hard for us to let him go for anything less.
Change is hard but necessary. We are called as Catholics to love each other. Even more than that we are called to go forth and find new ways and new people to love. We are called to be not just ordinary and comfortable but extraordinary and amazing, which can sometimes be uncomfortable. We are, all of us, "on the bridge" as well...on the front lines of our faith every single day with every interaction we have with another human being. If our faith is truly strong, if we can remember to walk the walk, it can weather change...in fact it can bring us closer to the extraordinary and amazing then ever.