When I Left That School (4)
“Is your decision final?”
That again was my wife making a last-ditch effort to sway me from making that decision. She asked me that question when she saw me sifting through a box of documents I brought home that night. She noticed that I was already slowly bringing home my personal belongings from my office.
Then again I gave my wife what became my classic response – “Trust me. I know what I am doing.”
While going through the files in that box, I came across the printed materials of a lecture delivered by a certain Dr. Bien. I recalled how prolific he was as a speaker. I started reading the materials he discussed during that seminar. I began to wonder why those materials did not affect me when I heard them delivered and expounded by Dr. Bien personally in the same way that they did when I read them. Perhaps I was not focusing on his talk that time.
Reading those old lecture notes made me finally see something that was kept from my view in the many years I had been teaching in that institution – the enormity of the role of a Catholic educator. It was not as simple as I thought. It is a difficult responsibility, something transcendental. It is not the subject areas that are being taught, it is the Gospel. It is not fusing the Gospel into a subject but the other way around.
I began to question what I had done in all those years I spent in that Catholic school. Those lecture notes made me feel uncertain as to whether or not I deserve to be a Catholic educator. The materials I read made me realize that only those who possess the fruits of the Holy Spirit can be efficient in carrying out the functions of a true Catholic educator. Honestly, I didn’t think I bore the fruits of the Spirit. I did and said things that made me unworthy to be a teacher and administrator in that institution.
I was eaten up by the hatred that I had fermented towards the Sister President. My deeds and words, and my ways of thinking about and doing things make me unworthy to be a torchbearer in Christian education. I couldn’t be “the blind leading the blind.” Pretense and hypocrisy tore my soul apart. Suddenly, my decision to leave just became final. I had to leave not because I don’t have faith in that religious as head of the institution but because I am weak. I am sinful.
Two months before the end of the school year I filed my resignation. There was no more turning back.
A week after filing that resignation letter, I received e-mails informing me that the universities in the Middle East decided not to hire me because I was not yet TESOL-certified. Those rejections came two weeks before I completed my TESOL training.
It was not meant to be. I did not inform my wife about it because she was already so disheartened when I resigned from my job. Telling her that my first two applications abroad ended up in failure would make her even more worried.
Then a few days before my resignation from the Catholic institution officially became effective, I received a call from the city college where I applied as College Dean. I was home at that time watching TV with my wife. After hearing the first sentence from the one who called, I was already sure of what he would say next. I asked him to give me a second. I told my wife to turn the TV off while I turn on the speakerphone. I wanted her to hear something special.
“Please continue sir.” I said.
“The President would like you to know that we have decided to hire you. Can you come here tomorrow?”
My wife smiled. She tried unsuccessfully to prevent tears to roll from the edges of her eyes. The opportunity that knocked on the door I built was not a chance to work overseas as ESL teacher (yet) but to continue as a school administrator.
NEXT: How many times shall I forgive my brother? Up to seven times?