When You’re Just Doing This

Sometimes folks ask me why I’m stagnating as a college lecturer teaching composition when I could do so much more with my degree. I used to be so offended by this question that often came from colleagues, students, or curious neighbors. Once, someone told me that she was so embarrassed for me because of my lowly position in light of all my learning. Didn’t I want more?

More what?

More power? More prestige? No.

We stood there looking at one another, and I realized I was living in a different universe where teaching precious souls is a sacred vocation and every word I write connects me to God’s glory. I didn’t want more. There was too much here already.

But I didn’t say a word. And I often don’t when the questions come:

Why? Why are you just teaching or just blogging or just working part-time or just keeping your home or just this or that? Why? Why aren’t you doing more important things? Why are you. . . just you? 

I’m just me.

The question arrives today when a student interviews me for a feature story. Even though she knows I’ve written books, she asks about career advancement and prestige and all the usual questions of why someone like me would just teach freshmen. She really wants to know; she’s really, truly amazed.

When I tell her it’s because I love it and prestige doesn’t matter, it feels like fresh air swirling about our whole conversation. It feels like freedom and sweet joy and balance and hope to tell her that I love my work.

Oh, sweet joy to love work and not worry about prestige or power!

What matters is that all work is sacred as we love others well, serve where we are, and apply our expertise. When we are motivated by love, it’s a whole different kind of world.

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