Monday, July 31, 2006

Buying the Field

Last week, after about a month of phone tag, an old friend and I connected for what turned out to be a really inspiring conversation. He told me he used to read my blog and that is what has me in front of this screen right now.

We were roommates for a couple of years in college and very close. After college we lost contact due primarily to the time I spent making my bed in the depths. A valuable friendship was broken. Though I know the fragments will never be put back together in the same way, I pray that they will indeed be pieced back together again. And I pray they will come together to make something beautiful. Different, yes, but beautiful.

It turns out that after spending a couple of years in the corporate world - a world I always found ill-suited for my friend - he decided to go back to school and get his teaching accredidation. He is now teaching 7th grade science and coaching various middle school sports. He told me that every morning at 7am or so a few kids make their way to his classroom nearly an hour before school begins. They talk a little about science and a lot about life. And most of all my friend just loves on them the way all kids deserve to be loved on and the way most kids are not. And it is good.

The funny thing is that when I was in 7th grade there was no bigger joke than a middle school coach. In my mind these were the guys who couldn't coach worth a damn so ended up teaching kids how to put on jock straps. Apparently a lot of guys still think that same way. My friend said that not long ago he ran into some friends who asked how things were going at Conquest, or whatever the name of the real estate company was that he used to work for. He told them that he quit Conquest and was now teaching 7th grade. He said you could have heard a pin drop.

But when my friend told me the news I swear I had a lump in my throat as big as Dallas. I was so proud of him and I felt so sorry for all the people out there who wonder why anyone would go off and ruin a good career like that. And I felt sorry for the little 7th grader in me who once thought that middle school coaches did what they did because they couldn't do anything else, rather than because they wouldn't do anything else - even if they could.

As we hung up the phone I thought about that story that Jesus tells of a guy who went out into a field and tripped over a treasure sticking out beneath the ground. And then he went out and sold everything he had just to buy that field. I have to think that field was a pretty rotten one as fields go. Rocks. Thistles. All in all, it probably looked a lot like Lubbock. But the treasure was there.

And where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.