As mentioned in my last blog, Rejuvenation, I mentioned the need for educators to find sources of inspiration during their summer break. As a way not only to rejuvenate myself but also to offer a source of inspiration to others, the focus of my blogs throughout the summer months will be inspiration.
For faithful readers of my blog, you may have noticed the short list of blogs that I myself frequent. Among them is a blog from Christian music artist Matt Maher (pronounced "mar"). Besides the music, the thing that draws me to Matt is that he is Catholic, and in a business where openly professing faith in a particular sect of Christianity - especially Catholicism - could have a detrimental impact on overall sales, his openness is daring. And what's more is that his knowledge of the Catholic faith is impressive. His songs have depth, many are based on Catholic theology and catechism or even Catholic prayers.
As a Catholic educator, his music can give a whole new meaning to praise and worship music.
His latest single, Rise Up, is a song that uses its title as a rallying cry. Since receiving the album on which it is found for Christmas 2011, I have turned to this track multiple times throughout the past 6 months. Teachers must often rise up above their circumstances of being overworked, underpaid, unappreciated and underslept. Catholic schools must rise up above dwindling enrollments, limited resources and the opening of new charter schools touting a free "private" education. Teaching is difficult. Dealing with as many personalities / characters / family backgrounds / intelligence levels / etc. as there are students in a classroom is draining. Trying to lesson plan, grade, discipline, help with extra-curricular activities and communicate and work with families leaves little time or energy to do much of anything else.
Jesus tells us, "In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world" (John 16:33). Take courage. Fill your heart. Life is hard - even Jesus tells us so - but He has conquered it. We're playing for the winning team. No matter the score, no matter how low, discouraged, disheartened, or disillusioned we feel, rise up.
Lambs will roar like lions. Prisoners will break their chains. The poor will find their treasure. Heaven is coming this way.
When life has got you down look at the One who has conquered the world...and rise up.