Friday, October 29, 2010

For Fridays - Not!

In addition to teaching five classes a day, most public school teachers have duty periods. Some teachers monitor the cafeteria; others are asked to sign in tardy students. My duty is to guard a side entrance of the school during eighth period, the last of the day.

Friday afternoons, the mood in the high school visibly changes. Both students and teachers have more pep in their steps. Students, many of whom have felt cooped up all week in the high school, smile more. Teachers do too.

On a recent Friday as I sat at my duty station on a plastic chair behind a formica desk, a colleague walked by, gave a big sigh, and said "Thank God it's Friday. But I feel like I am always wishing my time away." She added, "I don't like that."

Indeed, anticipating Friday helps me to navigate through my long commutes and intense work and graduate school schedule. On one hand, this is natural, yes? The rhythm of work and leisure. Anyone else remember this Donna Summer song? This is what Fridays at workplaces can feel like:

The trouble is, we run the risk of trudging through our work weeks, wishing them away, and waiting for weekends.Then, we figure, we can shut out the world, hunker down with our families, and really breathe.

And yet Christ's presence challenges us to understand every breath is a gift and every moment an opportunity to encounter Him in our neighbors' faces. The Church knows this. It celebrates the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass every day of the week - not just Sundays. The Liturgy of the Hours, ancient and powerful  prayers, can guide us through each day.

St. Paul of the Cross, founder of the Passionists, put it this way: "Celebrate the feast of Christmas every day, even every moment in the interior temple of your spirit, remaining like a baby in the bosom of the heavenly Father, where you will be reborn each moment in the Divine Word, Jesus Christ."

When Monday comes, I 'm going to pray to seek the face of Christ, all week, in every encounter.