“Be strong and of good courage.”

Riding Fivemile Pass OHV Area outside of Lehi, Utah yesterday reminded me how much stronger my right (brake) hand is than my left (clutch) hand. The terrain at 5,300-feet was mostly wide open (read: boring), and rocky. Some spots required all the front brake I could grab bulldogging the bike down a steep hill, locking up the rear brake and putting to use all my years of delicately balancing my mountain bike. When it came time for one of the uphills, I stalled my bike – obviously, I can’t clutch as good as I can brake. After 10 miles of dusty desert jeep trails, which is fun for the side-by-sides and ATVs, I decided I would rather hike, it’s so scenic. Plus, I’m not sure riding there makes me a better rider, either. I was more concerned about dropping my bike and denting the pipe again. I did manage to ricochet off a sage bush and scratch my arm so I must be the only person who can ride in the desert and still run into a tree. Score!

Last Friday I attended the new faculty orientation for teachers in the Salt Lake City Catholic Diocese and I learned a lot about the history of the Catholic Church in Utah and what it means to teach at a Catholic school. For one, when a student tells me something terrible happened in their life, I have the right (and privilege) to say, “I’ll pray for you.” Words like “morals,” “peaceful,” “nurturing,” “patient,” floated around reminding me of my greater responsibility with this job: Utah is celebrating 140 years of Catholic education. “This is a small town in a big city,” someone said, and it’s true. Of the 16 schools in the Diocese, I’m teaching at one of 3 high schools and, while it is not a requirement to be Catholic in order to teach at a Catholic school – in fact, more than 25 percent of teachers are not Catholic – it is encouraged to uphold the Catholic values of caring for each other as relationships are at the foundation of what it means to be Catholic. But it’s not just about being Catholic; it’s more about our commitment to the service of educating the “whole person” and helping prepare student leaders to go make peace in the world. I can jive with that.

“Prayer should come with a disclosure: if you pray, you will change.”


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