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Don't wait to become the person God wants you to be

By JIM TOKARSKY • Dec 14, 2018 at 9:00 AM

It hit me like a ton of bricks. My wife informed me that my eldest child, Alex, has just called to say he is done with his semester exams at Xavier. He told her he is 5/8ths finished with his college career. My mind began to race.

I immediately converted the 5/8 to 62.5 percent. That doesn’t really make any difference in my story, but it gives some insight into a former Algebra teacher’s mind.

I shifted from the math thoughts and began to wonder where the time went. Didn’t I just drop him off for orientation his freshman year? I swear that his mom just finished explaining the finer points of doing his own laundry. Is he really done with finals? Well at least by saying 5/8ths done, he is still saying he will be done in four years. My goodness; that will be a little over a year from now. That doesn’t seem so far away.

We are finishing up our first semester here at St. Paul High School and NCS junior high, too. And as Alex would point out to his younger brother, Nate, a junior in high school, Nate is 5/8ths done with high school. Sam, the youngest, is almost half done at 3/8ths finished. All this has me feeling quite a bit older. But, more importantly, it speaks to the fleeting nature of time. The time to act is now.

At Masses throughout Advent, the readings point to the idea that we shouldn’t wait any longer to become the person that God wants us to become. Let’s get moving. I think of the many opportunities that students have to share and sharpen their talents and virtue. Perhaps it is taking a class that is really tough, joining a sports team that will push them to their limit, speaking up when they notice something’s not quite right, choosing the right attitude while doing service or joining that club with activities that take them out of their comfort zone. As I listened to our choir and band at the wonderful Christmas concert, I was glad that so many dared to do something great. Or in the words of our current capital campaign, that we are attempting to “soar.”

So in what direction is this challenge taking each of us? There is no time like now for each of us. A few years back, I found a list that provides that direction for all of us, regardless of how much tread we have left on us. These attitudes don’t just ring true for Advent, but for all year:

1. Search for God in others and in your day to day life.

2. Be generous and share your time, your gifts, and your joy.

3. Trust that God always listens.

4. Reconcile with God and others.

5. Be coherent by matching your actions to your beliefs.

6. Love others through simple and kind gestures.

7. Be grateful to God for all your blessings.

8. Speak about God and do not be ashamed of Him.

9. Illuminate others with joy and be a light in the world.

10. Pray and dedicate some special time to God.

(Source: “The 10 Attitudes for Advent” from the website CatholicLink)

These attitudes will make the most of our time today and tomorrow. God bless and Merry Christmas from Norwalk Catholic School and St. Paul High School.

Local columnist Jim Tokarsky is the principal of St. Paul High and Norwalk Catholic middle schools.

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