The day’s devotion at the time I wrote this presented a question asking when have we felt sick because of unfulfilled longing and how did God meet us in the time of our need. The question reminded me of the devo session we had the previous day as they were quite connected. Yesterday’s devotional question asked us where we see temptation to control the future and how we can better trust God with our coming days. One thing I like about the daily devotions is how it seems to fit my current situation one way or another. It makes me think how God just knows what message I need for the day or for that season in my life.
For the past few days, I’ve been bugged again with discontentment. I’m a 27-year-old teacher and have been teaching at my current institution for almost six years. The last two years of online teaching have drained me emotionally. This school year, this emotionally draining situation was finally solved as we started our full in-person schooling.
Online teaching is no longer the reason for my dissatisfaction, but it was surely the reason last year when I was planning not to extend my five-year contract. I wanted a year-long break as I felt so drained and no longer found joy in it.
Nevertheless, I extended.
I love being around my students—interacting with and guiding them—time flies unnoticed. However, the recurring thought that teaching won’t make me rich and the salary that I’m receiving isn’t enough for me to be able to let my family experience the joys of travel is a constant cause of my vexation these days. In my pastor’s words, “the calling is high but the salary is low.” These are his words regarding pastoral ministry that resonates with my profession. I somehow believe that teaching is my calling—that God has given me the personality suited for this profession.
Teaching is not a lucrative profession, though. In the fancy words of my college professors, teaching is the noblest profession.
And it is.
But I have to support my family.
Children are not retirement plans, they say. People who have money can live by these words. But I cannot. My conscience cannot bear letting my family struggle on their own, while I’m out here enjoying the bliss of being able to support myself. After all, I wouldn’t be where I am now without my mother’s guidance.
And I will support my family.
Breadwinners might be able to relate to my concerns.
I only come back twice a year to my hometown, on Christmas and summer breaks. For almost two years, I stayed in Davao and did not return home because of travel restrictions. When I finally was able to go home in December last year, the realization that my mother is getting old hit me—she looked older than when I last saw her.
While I was busy making a living in Davao, my mother was also growing old. When will I be able to give back more than enough? More than being able to send her a monthly allowance, I am hoping that I would be able to let her travel to different cities in the Philippines; she loved her trip to Cebu last June. It made me wish to let her experience that more often. This is my unfulfilled longing at the moment.
I am like a broken record: I have been repeating this concern to my friends and to God. I hope to find a teaching job that would pay enough for me to be able to fulfill this unfulfilled longing of providing more than enough.
I still don’t know why I got appendicitis last May just when I thought my health was perfectly fine and just when I was planning to resign. I see the appendectomy as something that had delayed my plans of resigning and pursuing a different career. It left me stuck with a debt/loan that has to be deducted from my monthly salary for over a year. I am thankful to the institution for letting me loan a huge amount to cover my operation. I don’t know what God’s plans are for my future and why things happened.
Despite my temptations to control my future, I’ll rest my trust in God. I might not see the reasons for the delay now, but my faith that His plans for me are a lot better than what I had planned for myself will remain steadfast. For sure, His plans would not harm me. I’ll keep on believing that God will meet me in the time of my need, just like always.
All my hopes and longings for the uncertain and mysterious future, I entrust to God.
Akiko Jane C. Cortel, 27, teaches for a living, a student of life forever.
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