Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Thursday, January 1, 2015

In the New Year, Together

CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith from a Place of Winter for the Years of Winter… ©

Teaching has the highest dropout rate of all professions. It’s not surprising. It’s a hard job, made more difficult by politicians and others who vilify teachers as the enemy for wanting to be paid and have health insurance. Illinois State University Distinguished Professor Paul J. Baker spent his career studying teachers. He says, “It is nice to have good administrators and adequate pay and decent equipment and supportive parents, but what keeps teachers in the profession is the support of their peers. It’s a lonely job. You are in that classroom by yourself. But if you feel that you are not alone, like you are part of a team, you can keep on.”

My wife was a teacher. Each morning she and her colleagues would gather in the office to pick up their mail, drink coffee, exchange stories, and basically try to avoid going to their classrooms. Finally Pierce Pickins would drawl “Let’s go stamp out ignorance.” They would pick up their mail and their coffee and their courage and go out into the halls of chaos together, with a common goal, even though they would work alone.

Pierce Pickins is not teaching anymore. I saw his obit yesterday. He was 91. But somewhere he is still part of the team, still saying, “Let’s go stamp out ignorance.”

Each morning in this new year, this 2015, I shall wait for my team to gather, Uncle Johnny and Uncle Randall, little sister Margey, friends Andre and Raydean and Bettie and Leroy and so many others, and when that great cloud of witnesses is in place, knowing that even death cannot overcome love, knowing that I am not alone but part of an eternal team, I’ll say, “Let’s go stamp out hate.”

John Robert McFarland

The teacher part of the above meditation is from my book NOW THAT I HAVE CANCER I AM WHOLE, Reflections on Life and Healing for Cancer Patients and Those Who Love Them, pages 284-5 [AndrewsMcMeel]

The “place of winter” mentioned in the title line is Iron Mountain, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where life is defined by winter even in the summer! [This phrase is explained in the post for March 20, 2014.]

I have also started an author blog, about writing, in preparation for the publication, by Black Opal Books, of my novel, VETS, in 2015.

I tweet as yooper1721.

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