Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I am not a church-going person, but I have always found a strange sort of inspiration in the old Bible story of Abraham, who, at the age of 75, heard an unmistakable message in his mind that he should leave all he knew and set out on a journey, and did so, even though he had no idea where he was going. I find it astonishing, each time I think about it, that this elderly man would do such a thing – simply strike out across the vast landscape for some distant, nameless destination. It’s amazing to me that he had the self-assurance to set aside the settled customs of his life and confidently look forward to a thoroughly unidentified future. It’s as if he knew that every next step would inescapably be the correct one. I sometimes wish, as I’m sweating my way through a year’s worth of standards, goals, objectives, and lesson plans, that I had the faith to forego some of the planning and just launch out into the deep waters of teaching, heading for who knows where. There’s something to be said for having faith enough to let the future unfold its surprises, instead of always trying to put it together in our preferred ways. Abraham used that kind of faith to find the promised land, and perhaps I can use it to take my students, every now and then, on nameless (and I might even say aimless) literary expeditions.

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