My life is a teacher is complete. I am ready to hang up the grade book. I have achieved all I could have hoped to accomplish as an educator. There is nothing more.
Readers of this blog know that I am a high school Latin teacher. Today as I stood on hall duty between classes, a young lady whom I did not know approached me. After confirming that I was the teacher she thought I was, she said, "I hear you have swords." I smiled and said that I did. I have two, life-sized mannequins dressed in full Roman armor standing in opposite corners of my classroom. She asked if she could borrow a plastic or foam one. I smiled again and informed her that my swords were real and that I did not loan them.
Apparently I am known now in circles beyond my awareness as the sword guy. I am the guy you go to when you want a sword. I am not entirely joking when I say that this makes me happier than you could imagine. Yes, there is the chest-beating macho thing, but there is more.
I want to be the sword guy. Ephesians 6 talks of the armor of God, which includes the sword of the Spirit that is the Word of God. I want to be a warrior worthy of the calling and worthy of the sword my Lord has entrusted to me. Put another way as Frank Weathers puts it at Why I Am Catholic, I hope to be a Christian badass. This is someone who can stand for the truth, as a brother-in-arms with the One Who is Truth, Jesus Christ. It is to be as John the Baptist was, willing to risk his life by telling truth to power. It is to be as Stephen and Polycarp were. It is to be as Thomas More was. It is to be Christlike in willingness to follow in our Lord's footsteps, footsteps that were not the bloody tracks of the military revolutionary but the bloodied footprints on the Via Dolorosa. It is to see and speak clearly, with love and without hesitation.
Our son, who is eleven, has a veritable armory in our garage and in his bedroom. Foam and wooden swords are his constant favorites (next to Nerf guns, a bow, and a wooden spear) and he prefers Lego minifigs whose accessories are swords. I pray God that I train him well, that he may one day also be known as the guy to go to for a sword, the sword of truth with which he will join the honorable ranks of those who carry the standard of the risen King.