It is difficult to articulate the feelings I have as we begin faculty meetings and timely preparations for the coming school year at Arrupe Jesuit High School. We spent two weeks at boot camp engaging in intentional formation, investing in community, and preparing for these approaching months as best we could. At this point, we are all settled into our respective new homes, have begun building relationships in our schools, and are starting to get a sense of the reality of what this year will bring.
Many people have asked how I’m doing with looking to what is ahead. They inquire about what is making me excited, nervous, or anxious. Admittedly, I have a hard time answering those questions. I truly anticipate this year being one of instrumental growth in my own life, and it’s funny to have that understanding about a large experience while looking that experience straight in the face as it rapidly gets closer and closer. I know in order for this time to be one of growth, I will be taken out of my comfort zone and, in a strange way, I find a great deal of peace in that.
So much is uncertain at this point. After all, the formal school year hasn’t even started. An immeasurable amount has yet to be experienced, leaving an even more immeasurable amount of value untapped. In the midst of our temporary lack of tangibility, I hold closely to a quote from Fr. Doug Marcouiller, SJ, former provincial of the Missouri Province. In a conversation he had with ASC 24 during a visit to Green Hills, Fr. Marcouiller, SJ, told us the foundational purpose of the work we will do with our students is to “help them to know they are gifted, and help them to know how to give those gifts away.”
In many ways, I do not know what this year will be like, simply because I do not have a full frame of reference. I have never taught freshman algebra. I have never coached high school boys’ soccer. I have never been a part of a community like Arrupe Jesuit, nor have I invested myself in an Igantian way of life in the ways we will this year. With that said, I will not forget the advice Fr. Marcouiller, SJ, shared with us. I will not compromise that perspective. I will do my absolute best to live in that mindset which so intricately models the gift of self, and so beautifully reflects the spirit of St. Ignatius.
My prayers are with each member of ASC 24 as we begin this incredible journey.