I’ve spent a few minutes trying to think about how I want to start this entry and it hasn’t been the easiest thing to do. It only being the end of my second day of actual teaching at Rockhurst High School (Kansas City, MO), though, I am beginning to see this year as a calling. On the first day of our ASC Summer Orientation I remember telling myself, with butterflies twirling around my stomach like cannonballs wrecking through St. Ignatius’ knee, that I would not be able to survive not only this year, but even this training. I texted my mom saying, “I don’t think I can do this, I want to leave.” I was afraid: afraid of failure, persecution, the new experiences, and opening myself back up to God.
What changed for me was the ability to have so many intelligent, respectful, open and kind-hearted individuals and colleagues surrounding me. At summer orientation, we would end each day with evening prayer, journaling about certain questions posed by the daily reading and homily. I found myself drawn to these times of day, to really write out my thoughts, speak with God alone, and then share my fears and hopes with my old and new friends who were there supporting me. It was during our first Mass with Fr. Drew Kirschman, SJ, that I really began to feel in touch with God once again, someone I had felt distant from for far too long. I was on the verge of tears as we held hands and said the ‘Our Father’, holding them in as I realized God was accepting me, forgiving me, and giving me this opportunity to serve and give back to the Jesuit community that had helped shape me into the man for others I am today.
This is not to say that my fears of failure had been diminished or reconciled by any means, but I felt an ever-loving support and wisdom given to me through my fellow ASC members and mentors who came before us during orientation. Leaving Summer Orientation I felt ill-prepared to go out and teach the young minds that were just like me only 8 years ago. But, as I left my home in St. Louis, my family and loved ones, I began this new journey to Kansas City, at Rockhurst High School. The faculty has been incredibly supportive in supplying me not only with materials and guidance, but also with constant affirmation of my ability to do well and never-ending help. As I finish my third day in front a classroom, and as modestly put as possible, I seem to feel more confident in my performance, influence, and presence in front of the great minds and men of tomorrow. I can only hope my presence and preaching in the courses of Ethics and Ancient Civilization captivate the young men to pursue knowledge, justice, integrity-filled lives, and to become men for others.