No cake. No balloons. No flowers.

I just returned from an incredible three-days-two-nights in Bodega Bay, California.  Located about 90 minutes north of San Francisco.  Bodega is known for the film THE BIRDS.  Charming fisherman’s (person’s – if you want) town!  Love our time.  First time we have used VRBO.  Very cool.  House is a tri-plex.  Sits right on the water’s edge.  Couldn’t have asked for a nicer experience.  Simple by many.  Needed for my wife (Diana) and me.  

During this time in Bodega Bay, I thought of what I have left behind – a great career:  HIGH SCHOOL MUSIC TEACHER!  

As you know, I am officially retired from teaching in public schools in California.  As far as teaching all together, I am on a sabbatical.  I love teaching!  Yet, I have never had time off.  Summer vacations?  PLEASE!  That time was preparing for the next school year or at least having the next school year hovering over your head.  

So, this three-day retreat with my wife was planned for the first week of the spring semester of what would have been the end of my 33rd year teaching (Started January 1989).  Technically 32.5 years 🙂  

“Pinecrest High School” is NOT the real name of the high school.

I thought about how my career ended and the word that came to me for the ending is … humble.  I am going to present my final moment on Pinecrest High School’s campus.  

On Wednesday, December 22, 2021, I go up to the office to hand in the keys.

Our incredible principal’s secretary asks me, “Can I give ya a hug?”  That’s where we (society) are in today’s world.  Thirty years ago, we simply gave a hug.  A hug was nothing more than … a hug.  We recognized a hug was a human action to do in such a moment.  Why ask to do something that is so natural?  

“Of course.  You don’t have to ask.”  

And … that was it.  No good-bye from any administrator.  No cake.  No balloons.  No flowers.  

Now, I did request for my departure to be on the “down-low.”  That request was taken “literally.”  

In fairness, this is the principal’s first year at Pinecrest High School.  There was really no connection.  I should not have expected a “big” good-bye. 

The district administration’s good-bye?  I think it was a letter.  (Something kind of tellingthe district office is on the same property as Pinecrest High School.  So, somebody could have walked over and gave me a fist-bump (used to be handshake) for the 12.5 years of service for the district.)  We did receive a $15,000 “Service Award” with the “be prepared for a heavy tax (a little over a third).  Oh — We don’t see any of that “Service Award.”  The “Service Award” is being used to pay for our health benefits.  IMPORTANT.  We appreciate it.  

I have taught and left six schools: (All fictitious names:  Riesling HS; The Bay Area Christian School; Stone Lake HS; Little Town HS; Killarney HS; Pinecrest HS).  Therefore, I am used to “hellos” and “good-byes.”  But this was not simply a “good-bye.”  This was the end and few people understood / understand it’s “the end.”  That is the humbling part. 

Folks … people are going to move on without you.  Also, water is wet.  Fire burns.  DUH!  

There is nothing more humbling than to realize you are replaceable. 

I was reminded, “Paul, you do not good work for cake, balloons or flowers.  You do good work for Jesus Christ.”  

My ego (Edging God Out) grew too big!  I admit it.  I was looking forward to a “Hollywood ‘Mr. Holland’s Opus” good-bye.”  My fault.  

I am here to help you / remind you to do good work for God (Jesus Christ for me).  He will give you the hug you need.  He will answer your prayers.  He will forgive you.  God has the best cake… biggest and brightest balloons… and yes, beautiful flowers.  

This week (January 11-14, 2022) the Pinecrest High School students hopefully had the greatest week with their new teacher.  I know she has great students to work with.  I miss them and at the same time, I am happy for them to have a teacher who will meet their needs. 

I need to meet the needs of my marriage, my God and those who have been so very kind to me.  I believe you do, as well.  

Some thoughts of humility:  

Proverbs 22:4 
The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life.

1 Peter 5:5
Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Colossians 3:12
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience

Proverbs 11:2 
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.

Proverbs 29:23
One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.

Romans 12:16
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.

Whether or not you believe in Jesus Christ or accepted him as your Lord, I do suggest you need to constantly ask yourself, why do you work?  What is your why?  Are you doing ‘good work’ for you or others?  Can you do good work just for you? 

My suggestion is you do what is really difficult to do:  live THE 100 – 0 RELATIONSHIP philosophy.  You give a 100% and expect 0% in return and you will never be disappointed.  

Hope this helps one person today.  Love ya – in that AGAPE sort of way!  

PS — I AM EXTREMELY GRATEFUL FOR ALL THE WONDERFUL MESSAGES SENT TO ME.  Those messages have really helped me with this transition in my life and also helped begin to heal.  YOU ARE SPECIAL TO ME.