Olive Branches, Chapter 10

A new day for the characters in Olive Branches, and back to Insidious Cynic’s character, Teacher Davi!

Tuesday, September 8 – Davi Crisostomo

My eyes are closed, my head is bowed.

Today I pray that God will give me patience and wisdom…and that D.K. won’t critically injure herself on my watch, bringing my decade-long teaching career to an ignominious end. 

I recently read a study that said that more than fifty percent of young people will leave the church before they finish college. I feel like they’re being conservative. What’s the point of what I do if so many are going to lose their way anyway? I mean, sure I also teach them English and math and biology and health, and all that stuff’s very important. But if they’re just going to live their lives stumbling in the darkness… Does any of it really matter? Fifty percent—five out of the ten. Who will it be?

I tell myself not to think about it too much, to leave it up to God, to stop blaming myself for things out of my control. 

Then I grit my teeth and think about how stupid you have to be to walk away when they were born into the truth? How could they just…

But I know how. And how can I blame them? You know teenagers, It’s so exciting out there, so much stuff to see and do. It seems as though you’re casting off shackles when you’re really putting them on. I was there, and I should never forget what it felt like. And then, of course, there’s pain.

This is my passion, I know it is. But am I making a difference? Can a single person make a difference? I know what answer I’m supposed to give but…ugh, listen to me. Now I sound like a teenager.

What can I do better? I’m in a rut, that’s why I’m mulling over these old thoughts all day, every day. There’s always room for improvement. Or maybe I should take up another hobby, start a new club at school, and do more volunteer work at the hospital. You know, keep busy.

Man, I’m boring.

How can I possibly compete with the internet, with iPhones, with TV. I’m just a boring, nerdy, bland, single guy nearing middle age…yeesh, I’m getting old. What am I doing with my life?

God please give me guidance.

She called me self-righteous, I recall from two nights ago.

One of my former students. She called me out of the blue. I could barely recognize her voice as she sobbed uncontrollably into the receiver. She asked me how I could lie to her like that—make her believe so firmly, only to be disappointed. She called me self-righteous, a hypocrite. Pastor Macdonald got the call too—that’s what he pulled me out of the class for yesterday. So did her parents, her Sabbath-school teacher and her former principal.

I’m not self-righteous, I assure myself. I’m not. I’m no different from anyone else. I’m a sinner, Lord knows I’m a sinner.

But I still feel terrible.

“What’s he doing?” I hear one of the students whisper as they wander into the classroom.

“He’s praying, shush,” says another.

Please, God, be with them, I pray. It’s not about me. It’s never been about me. I can take a beating. Please guide us. Amen.

The school-bell rings, and I shoot out of my chair onto my feet.

“DAY TWO!!” I yell, grinning wildly. “PREPARE FOR LEARNING!!”

Yeesh,” mutters Hannah.

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Olive Branches, Chapter 10

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