9/10/12 Jim, about 25
I am grateful to be a Chicago public school teacher. I was especially touched this morning by the tremendous community support I experienced as I walked the picket lines on the first morning of our strike. I'm not especially adamant about the issue - I have always been very happy with my salary and I believe we teachers should be held accountable for our performance - but in the past few years teachers have often been scapegoats for all the problems of our students. I have dealt with it by finding my strength and approval in the Lord and having very low expectations for any appreciation from people, so the appreciation I experienced this morning from passersby was completely unexpected and very emotional for me. We also had a huge rally in downtown Chicago, and afterward I stopped at the IIT campus on my way home to initiate a Gospel conversation, but my thoughts were still on the days' events. I talked with a young man named Jim who had stopped for a break from his frisbee golf game. He told me about his beliefs in a sort of energy-field reincarnation after he dies and about his purpose to serve other people in life. I'm afraid I got a little carried away in talking about how teaching, for me, is a wonderful way to serve God and express my appreciation for all He has done in my life, but I failed to share exactly what it is that God has done in my life. I talked too much about me and not enough about the Lord. It would be easy for Jim to conclude that I was just a good person who loves to serve others, rather than to understand that I am really a sinner who has been forgiven through Christ. He could easily give glory and honor to me rather than to Christ who truly deserves it. If this strike continues, it won't be long before public opinion turns against us teachers, and I will go back to finding my strength only in the Lord. Maybe that's for the better.