As I sit at my desk and type this blog post, just outside my window is a beautiful SoCal scene. The light of the setting sun is shining on green palm branches and purple flowers. Kids (most TFA Corps Members are just out of college) are strolling along the campus of Loyola Marymount University. And it is a beautiful college campus. One side of the campus offers a view of Venice beach and the other side offers a view of downtown LA. It is quite stunning.
But I'm a bit homesick. While my body is in beautiful LA, my heart is in muggy Gardner. Watching Erin and Dawson walk away from me at the Kansas City Airport last night was a very difficult thing. I had to spend some time in a stall of the men's room before re-gaining my composure. When Dawson heard the garage door open, he asked Erin, "daddy?" During his sunshine bedtime routine, the first person he wanted to sing about was daddy. When I read about that in a text from my wife, I started crying again. Then my roommate walked in (yes, I'm in college again) and it was a bit awkward. One day down, just four weeks and six days to go.
But why am I volunteering to separate myself from my family? Well, the simple reality is that in our country, where a child is born is most often the determiner as to the level of education they will achieve. To put is as simply as I possibly can, that is not right. As someone called to proclaim gospel, a gospel that is first of all "good news" for the poor, I must do my part to address that injustice. The reality is that some kids, good kids living in Kansas City, simply do not have the same educational opportunities that my wife had or my son will have. For that reason, I'm away from them for awhile, being trained to teach in such a way as to close that achievement gap.
After finishing this blog post, I read the lectionary readings for the day. The theme for the week is "service" and both readings applied to what I wrote above.
Psalm 31 is about strength while serving God, and this is the final verse of that psalm:
"So be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the LORD!"
And then there is Luke 16. While it seems that much of North American church culture is about having a good family (a very inward focus), Jesus seemed to call us to something deeper. Not that we shouldn't love and serve our family (Paul was clear that we do), Jesus seemed to believe that a healthy family isn't the reason we follow Jesus. We're a part of such a big mission that personal sacrifices are necessary. Read and be shocked:
"A large crowd was following Jesus. He turned around and said to them, 'If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.27 And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.'"
Finally, they're working us so hard here that I barely have time to sleep, let alone to blog. I wrote this a few days before it posted. So, I might not be able to blog much, probably only on the weekends.