As the school year draws to a close at Rockhurst High School (Kansas City, MO) I reflect on the many blessings and struggles of being a member of the Alum Service Corps (ASC). Towards the end it becomes routine doing things you never thought possible like teaching three lessons, moderating a club, perfecting the hallway, coaching a team, and participating in community activities – all in the same day. It is routine, but it’s still not easy. From watching my students grow and change to strenuously worrying about a future job, ASC has been a major growing and learning experience but sincerely and truly a gift from God. As this year has made clear to me, we learn best from our mistakes and we grow the most when able to effectively reflect on our past experiences. This year, I have learned how to function in community and classroom life. These may be the hardest adjustments as an ASC. I have learned how and when to communicate about scheduling needs with the car or the chores around the residence. I have also learned how and when to address an upset student or a frustrated co-worker.
Upon careful reflection, taking the previous ideas to prayer, and hearing a great reflection during morning announcements the other day, I have found that, at times, Alum Service Corps can be best related to people like Pepe Le Pew and Jesus. Stay with me here, Pepe Le Pew is the classic cartoon skunk, hopelessly in love, never ceasing to give up on any chance he gets at being loved back. He smells, and is a bit too persistent and that’s why no one loves him, but he just keeps on striving to love and be loved, hence the phrase hopelessly in love. Pepe loves in the face of being turned down repeatedly.
Jesus, in the same sort of way, loves the people who hate him and reject him. After going through everything Jesus has to deal with and more, on the cross, after being beaten, ridiculed, and nailed to it, uttered the most humble words of mercy anyone can imagine, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” This Jesus type of love, forgiveness, and strength, this Pepe Le Pew kind of love, hopeless, tireless, and unceasing, is a sliver of what we, as teachers, are called to. In the face of persecution, hate, denial, rejection, and much more, Jesus loved. In the face of continuous let down, Pepe continues searching for that one, right skunk that will love him back.
We as teachers of teenagers and members of a community in ASC strive to do something similar. To love our students, community members, and co-workers – no matter what is what we are called to as members of ASC. We are to work (somewhat) tirelessly to help them grow and be changed. In the face of failing, being made fun of, scoffed at, and not loved back, we love our students and wish them the best with everything. Its takes effort, but as with any kind of service, it benefits us, rather than them, more than we ever expected.
Through all of it, we have Jesus as an example of how to love, and though we can never love as perfectly as Him, we must strive. I believe that this prayer will help me to strive to be more like Pepe and in turn, Jesus.
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding, and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.
You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours;
do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
that is enough for me.