Enjoying The Snow

by Admin / 11. January 2009 10:42

Welcome to 2009. Its a snowy one so far in Chicago. Since arriving last Tuesday, I think it has snowed four or five days of the days we have been back. Being from Colorado, I love the snow, partly because it is so beautiful. When you are outside and its snowing, you can almost hear the whisper of each flake as it hits the ground. In my mind, there is nothing more peaceful than being outside when its snowing. They say that no two snowflakes are ever alike. Like us, each flake that touches the ground has qualities that set it apart from all the others. I find comfort in that. But once the storm has past…I have to get up earlier than usual and shovel! Awesome…

In some ways, this is very comparable to my life at St. Rita. Working with high school boys is something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I attended an all boys high school, and going back to a similar setting has been a blessing this year. Each boy is unique, just like a snowflake. But sometimes as a whole group, they can be like a storm, leaving behind broken branches, chaos in the streets, etc.

Don’t get me wrong, I love working at St. Rita more and more everyday. It was difficult at first, just as any job is difficult at the beginning. My official job title is Assistant TO the Activities Director (for all you “Office” fans). Because of the way the school is set up, my office is in a location that attracts the minimum amount of drop-in visits. So I have to be more proactive regarding “hanging out” with the kids. I substitute for my boss, Brother Gary Hresil, about once a day. The title “substitute teacher” at St. Rita can be interchanged with the title “babysitter for 18 year old boys.” Great…I’m shoveling.

However, every year, the Augustinian volunteer is put in charge of the prestigious flag football team. Coaching these boys was fantastic. As head flag football coach, I was able to hang out a group of seniors outside of the classroom. There was Jack Delaney and Jack Goldrick, both of whom argued so much that, if they weren’t so lazy, they would make fantastic attorneys. There was Kevin Austin who had no regard for his body, a fantastic defensive lineman. There was Brian Boyd, the intelligent one. Everyone brought their own talents, athletic abilities, and decision making skills onto the field. Although our finish wasn’t exactly up to standard of success this program is used to, we all had fun. I enjoyed the snowfall…

On the Kairos retreats, each student opens up in their own way, they find different ways to find themselves. I have been fortunate enough to attend two Kairos retreats so far this year, one as a candidate and one as a leader. I also attended two in high school. Just like the snowflakes, each Kairos has been different, and each Kairos has been nothing short of amazing. Sometimes, I find myself asking why I decided to give a year of service. Many of the boys ask me that same question, and most of the time I don’t have a good answer. But when I’m on Kairos, and I see the transformation, I have my answer. I’m sorry that I can’t articulate it further than that. I enjoyed the snowfall…

Looking back on the first half of the year at St. Rita, the positive memories completely outweigh the negative ones. As I am sitting here, I noticed that the forecast is calling for snow tomorrow night. Am I going to dread shoveling the long driveway, knowing that my back will hurt the next day? Or am I going to enjoy the beauty of nature, the serenity of the snowfall? I think I’ll choose the latter.

Joe Toomey
Chicago, IL 2008-2009

 

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