Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The clock is ticking

Tick, tock. Tick, tock.

The incessant, jerky movement of the second hand clicks forward, taking a tour of the clock face every minute. It is steady, not slowing down or speeding up. One slim second at a time, it marks off minutes, hours, and days, those days morphing into weeks, months, years, decades, and lifetimes. Who could have imagined that such a short interval could be the beginning of something so big?

When you teach in a high school, there are many signs of those ticking seconds. Just the other week, the traditional "Passing the Torch" chapel service took place. Senior students walked down the long isle with a junior student or two by their sides. Arrival at the front of the auditorium prompted hugs, handshakes, and a flower being passed to the junior. (I suppose passing an actual torch might be frowned upon by the fire marshals.) But in the aftermath of the ceremony, the soon-to-be-seniors looked a little different. They walked taller, straighter. They exuded a little more confidence, perhaps even an air of maturity. Their impending "top dog" status seemed to resonate in that single second when stems exchanged hands. But the clock continues to click.

Now it's finals week. The clock ticks on. Students come into my room when it's time to prove their academic diligence. They leave when the clock declares "Time's up." Then it's down the hall and to their next exam, repeated over and over until there are no more tests to be taken. Then what? Summer vacation? A job? Lots of time to read? Trouble? Only time will tell.

Glancing around the classroom from behind my desk, I think about all the seconds that have come and gone over the past couple years. The long expanse of countertop holds cartons of "stuff" needing to find a new place at home: printer, lamps, decorative items, rugs, files, and a host of other things such that a truck will be required for the move. The sole bulletin board is
now empty, naked but for the backdrop still in place. I haven't yet taken down all the artwork, removed the living plants, or destroyed the mural wall. I have four more exams to give and I don't want the kids' brains to feel as barren as the classroom. But perhaps my hesitation to remove those things that define my space is a feeble attempt to slow the clock and bask in those rare moments when the students "got it"--and said so!

Still, the seconds tick on. They click away the time that brings me closer to a new adventure. No longer will I teach about fungus in a classroom. My teaching subjects will be Athletics 101, Motivation for the Christian Athlete, Perseverance, Athletics: A Microcosm of Life, Coaching Biblically, Coaching for Eternity, Effective Relationship Building, Righteous Responsibility, The Gospel of Jesus Christ, Team Building, and a host of other subjects whose syllabi are still being written. My students will be coaches and athletes, my classroom the locker room, gym floor, court, field, stadium, or camp.

So go ahead, Clock. Tick away all you want. For in your steady flow through time, I am swept along in your wake. And when I hit the shores of FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) ministry, I trust I land in the exact spot where I am needed most. I pray for those who will dry me off and send me on my way, encouraged and equipped for the task at hand. The needs are great, but I am willing and God is able. Will you join me in walking onto secular campuses with the good news of the Gospel, helping, encouraging, and equipping coaches and their teams?

FCA ministry is completely funded through the generosity of the "home team." Funds are used to cover all the logistical expenses of ministry as well as a very modest salary. To become one of my "designated hitters," please use this link to make your tax-deductible gifts. Or, you may send you gifts to FCA- Attn: Rebekah Trittipoe, Box 662, Forest, VA, 24551.

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