On January 1 of this year, I made the following comment in my journal:
And now it’s a new year! Lots of stuff to happen this year, most of which (quite literally, about seven and a half months’ worth) I can only wildly speculate about. But in the first four and a half months are some exciting things too.
Those first four and a half months had all the exciting things I anticipated, and on the other side of the latter seven and a half, I can recollect many exciting things I did not. Like every other year of my life, I look back on the whole of it and can see clearly, through all the challenges and struggles, God’s faithfulness.
The year began with my student teaching semester, the climax of my undergraduate curriculum, and quite a shift from the previous seven semesters. Gone was the typical day in the life of a college student, replaced by the typical day in the life of a pre-professional educator. It was lonely at first, being away from all my peers all day, arriving back in the late afternoon, having missed a full day’s worth of activity and being too tired to participate in a full evening’s worth of activity.
But there were incredible blessings during this intermediate term between the college lifestyle and the professional lifestyle. Time spent with friends was more rewarding simply because it came about because of intentionality. As for my student teaching itself, I was blessed with two talented cooperating teachers, each with something different to offer me based on their different backgrounds and experiences. Under their guidance, I finally put some of my training into practice and found my calling to teach affirmed.
February saw The Blizzard, and the fun of a spontaneous break in routine. In March, Conservatory of Music ensembles – many of my friends included – performed at Orchestra Hall in Chicago, and I was privileged to assist the leadership in the planning and execution of the event, which made for quite an enjoyable evening “at the office.”
April saw the conclusion of my student teaching semester and a few weeks of few obligations except to enjoy my last days of college. It was hard to believe what I was typing as I updated my Facebook status at the end of the month: “Eric Rubio has successfully completed all requirements for the Bachelor of Music Education degree.” It all ended tearfully with Commencement Weekend in May, as my classmates and I celebrated God’s faithfulness to us during our undergraduate years. Lisa Beamer challenged us to go forth from Wheaton, embrace the lives the Lord had prepared for us, and watch in wonder as He uses us to make whole the world He loves so much.
Then began one of the hardest months of my life. Having no idea what lay ahead, I felt disoriented and lost. Seeing so much emptiness in my calendar scared me, if I am honest about it.
But God was faithful. Apparently convinced that I had spent enough time resting, in contrast to plowing through the heavily scheduled days and lengthy to-do lists of the last four years, God brought some opportunities for work and service into my life. Vacation Bible School at Calvary, the summer band program in one of my student teaching districts, and my first few engagements as a member of the Artist Series Board of Advisers got me out of the house in June and July. At the end of July my family took a vacation to Washington, D.C. – the first family vacation I had been able to join in a few years. We saw sights we had not on previous trips to the capital and also saw two of my old roommates.
When we got back, I saw that my calendar looking forward was still empty, and moodiness set in again. But God was faithful.
One Saturday in mid-August, I was again checking job search engines for openings (something I had been doing since the beginning of the year). I found a new one in my area, and within an hour had sent an application. I had essentially forgotten about that application until the following Thursday, when I woke up, checked my email, and saw a message from the principal of Hadley Junior High School in Glen Ellyn, asking me to come in and interview for that position – that afternoon. I ditched my leisure reading plan for the day and instead spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon learning all I could about this district, that school, and the music program there. The interview, I felt, went well.
The following morning, I was painting my grandma’s deck when I received a call from the HR assistant, informing me that the principal had recommended me for employment, effective immediately, and could I come in on Monday to do some paperwork? I spent all of that Friday afternoon calling and emailing family members and friends with the news.
Monday afternoon, I signed my contract. Tuesday morning I reported for duty – I had been hired just in time for the last institute day before the start of the school year. Wednesday morning at 8:30, I stood before my first class.
Needless to say, several weeks passed rather quickly. Before I knew it we were well into the semester, and I was pleased to be able to give positive answers to queries about how things were going. Glen Ellyn being the next-door neighbor to Wheaton, my job kept me in close proximity to Wheaton College, facilitating my role on the Artist Series board. My moderately frequent stops at the College for that reason in turn kept me in touch with many of my friends in the classes below mine, and it was a real blessing to see them all doing so well – and to be able to attend many of their recitals and concerts. At the same time, I was pleased that I was able to keep up, by more technological means, with many of my friends from my class, currently spread around the country and the world.
Church involvement increased, too. The Sanctuary Choir began its season in September, and Adelphoi weeknight gatherings began, and I was privileged to be a part of both. Opportunities at church was one of the main reasons I was looking forward to moving back home to Oak Park after graduation, and my expectations have been met and then some.
October turned into November, and activity increased at work, church, and elsewhere as the calendar headed toward the year’s end. My district’s last day of school was Wednesday, December 21, and when I arrived home late that afternoon, I could not believe how much had happened – how many blessings I had received – since the beginning of the previous winter break.
So there you have it. In about 1200 words, a summary of my year. I do not know how to further analyze it than to say that God is faithful. “It is God who works in you, both to will and to work, for his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13) I pray God’s faithfulness will be evident to us all in the year to come.
This is Rubio, over and out.