Sunday, September 26, 2010
A different side
But I think the best moments are those quiet moments, when I'm not teaching them a new idea in class or maybe during a water break at practice. I love those moments when I get to interact with my students on a totally different level. I love getting to do other activities with them.
This week I had one of those opportunities. Our school participates in a citywide program called the "Joseph of Arimathea Society." Students who participate in this organization are called out of school a few times each year. We travel with the students all the way to the other side of town to a little area that the city has given over for the purposes of burying the poor, the homeless, the indigent. The boys in our little organization go when called to attend the burial and offer prayers for someone who otherwise might have no one at their funeral. We tell the students that no one comes into this world alone and no one should leave this world alone, either.
On Wednesday, I took a group of four students to bury a man, Buddy Carter, who died alone on the streets. They had never met him and knew nothing about him except that he was homeless. And yet they showed up. Our boys were called on to offer a little prayer service for Mr. Carter and then to transport him to his place of final rest and these four souls stepped up and offered to go. These are the same students that I have had in class who tease each other mercilessly, who tell crude jokes and who pretend to sleep through our school masses. And there they were standing at the grave, one with tears glistening in his eyes, another who gently, reverently reached out a hand to touch the coffin as we walked away to leave, and yet another offering spontaneous prayer asking God to accept Mr. Carter into eternal life.
I love these moments with the boys when I get to see them step out of their comfort zones, when they do something that is totally outside of themselves and entirely for someone else. I love getting to witness their conversion of heart, no matter how small it might be. I am so proud to say that I teach these boys, not math or soccer, but how to be men of character and people of faith.