Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Reflections on my 27th

When do birthdays stop being big parties and start being occasions for reflection? Well, I’m not sure but I know it occurred sometime before my 24th. I’m not celebrating my birthday this year, which isn’t to say I’m not enjoying the thoughtful cards from friends and family. I promise this isn’t out of grinchiness, it’s just out of a combination of factors – Lent, the busy SAT and school season, and frankly, a lack of time.

My birthday nearly always falls during Lent. When Easter falls at its earliest possible date, my birthday is on Easter Sunday, but usually it’s during Lent. I think Our Lord did that purposely, knowing how vain and proud I would be, and gave me an opportunity to reflect instead of party...All that being said, this year has furnished me with ample reflections.

#1 Love is not always where you expect it. It is everything you read and dream about, but it’s also many things you never expect or anticipate. As much love as you have in your heart to share with others – be they friends, family, or (in my case, if Our Lord sees fit to bless me) a spouse, the love you give is served best when it is lavished on those who are most worthy and deserving of your love. Those who do not know or care to understand the tensions that string the instruments of your heart do not deserve your time, and more importantly, your love. Love is a free gift, given unconditionally, but like any gift, it must either be taken with gratitude or discarded with disgust. Don’t leave your gifts to be trampled under someone’s feet. You’re worth more than that.

#2 Family and family dynamics are second only to your future marriage. I wish I could communicate how much progress I’ve made with my family in the past year, though I know I still have so far to go. Family loves you, and when you’ve been blessed with a family as solicitous as my own, you begin to understand that while their manner of going about loving you is not always what you want or appreciate, that they do love you. And that their advice should be given a hyper-preference, for they know you best, no matter how much you may reveal to others.

#3 Honest and reliable business associates are hard to find. The reason that there is such a dearth of business owners is because we as Americans have had business sense beat out of us and frankly, no one wants to do the work it takes to build up a business. It’s exhausting, and with few exceptions, you are the only one you can count on.

#4 Teaching is a gift – both that you take and that you give. I’ve enjoyed my students immensely. As this week closes and my last group of Southern California students brace for the SAT this Saturday I am grateful not only for the incredible income that such a profession has provided, but for the opportunity to impact and simply care about these kids. The 3rd quarter has just wrapped up here at the parish school, where I get to teach in a completely Christian environment. Another gift.

#5 I can’t wait to move. The weeks go by so quickly – I have less than 10 weeks of regular school as of the moment I write this – but they could go even faster for all I care. I move my goods to Kansas in two weeks, to get the toughest part of moving done.

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