Friday, February 23, 2018

Making Big Decisions

What do you do when a big decision looms before you?

Of course, we all want to make decisions that are in our highest and best interests. These decisions could include buying a home, having a child, adopting a child, getting  a divorce, moving to e new city or starting a new job.

Over the years, I  have had many life-changing decisions appear on my path. Sometimes when they first appear, I do not realize the significance of the decision. With every one I made I received guidance. I KNEW I was making the right choice even when other people would advise me against the decision.

One of those instances comes to mind when I think about the process of becoming a minister. My teacher was in Calgary and I lived in Edmonton. Ministerial training, at that time, was at least two years long. I decided to move to Calgary. I was advised by all my friends not to tell the administration of the secondary school in which I taught English, math and social studies to tenth graders. Our school was going through some typical changes for large secondary schools. They were looking to reduce our staff by one or two people. I naturally thought that the best thing for me, the school, and the rest of my colleagues was to tell the Vice Principal, that I was declaring myself surplus because I would be moving to another city. I did.

 Then I went to my first interview with the Calgary Board of Education. I felt peaceful and calm because I had an inner KNOWING that I would be moving to Calgary. And I had an indestructible faith that I would be able to find the right and perfect job. The interviewer was very kind and sweet but she told me that there were no jobs available for high school English teachers. In fact, she gave me the statistic that she had 1,000 ( yes, one thousand) applications and no (zero) jobs. She advised me that unless I wanted to put myself on the substitute teaching list, I should stay right where I was.

I could have questioned myself . After all, I had a wonderful tenured position which I would be giving up.

So I checked within. The guidance was still there. In fact, it was stronger than before. So I asked another question of the interviewer. I asked her if the Calgary Board was hiring any teachers at all. Then she said the magic words.  "We are looking for several special education teachers at the junior high level." I indicated that I would be interested.

Now the interesting thing was that five years earlier when I moved from Junior High to High School, I was guided to apply to be a special teacher on a pilot program in a secondary high school, which was attempting to retain "at risk" teenagers in school. It wasn't exactly special education, but it was enough to qualify me as someone who was willing to think outside the box and I was willing to learn.

Within ten days I had three  interviews in Calgary. I met with the first Principal and we liked each other, but I thought I would keep my other appointments to see if there was an even better fit. During that interview, I made a comment which included the words, "if I am successful..." My interviewer, who turned out to be my future Principal, stopped me and declared, "Ms. Clark, I don't think you understand the situation. You see, there are three positions open for you. You get to pick one you want!" I was over the moon with gratitude for the divine presence in my life.

Within ten days, following my internal guidance, I went from being told that there were a glut of teachers with my skills and being cautioned to stay right where I was, to having a choice of one of three jobs. I loved that teaching assignment. My teaching partner and I became great friends. And I got to advance my spiritual studies to include ministerial training. But most importantly, the thing Itself, that knows me intimately had guided me and I had listened. I have been doing my best to listen ever since.
The Buddha Nature is All-Knowing