My training is as a scientist. In science, you only accept what is objective and observable.
In 1999, I had just gone through a divorce, and knew I would not be able to take care of my son while working a night job. I had worked in the inpatient psychiatry wing at Providence Hospital for 30 years. So I quit the job in April and started to look full time for a job as a teacher.
I had interviewed in a number of parochial schools. Shrine, St. Benedict, some others. After two months without a bite, I panicked. I applied for a summer camp teaching job at Roeper School for the Gifted in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and got it. Science teacher (my specialty).
At the end of the summer camp, on its last day, a friend asked me where I was working in the fall and I said, “Nowhere”. It was unnerving to say so. I called home and found a message on the answering machine from Eton Academy in Birmingham, and I called them back from Roeper’s campus. Evidently they had remembered me from one of the gratis science presentations I had put on in my spare time for them. It was called “The Amazing Forces of Science”. I had given these presentations to several local schools and on the local Royal Oak cable TV channel.
The man from Eton asked “Where are you teaching in the fall?” “Nowhere”, I said honestly, “but I will be hearing from Shrine School on Monday.” “So you’re not committed?” he asked. “We had a science teacher quit at the last minute. He got a job in Farmington. What are you doing now?“ “I’m finishing up at Roeper.“ (Roeper has a certain cache among local educators because it is a school for the gifted.) He said, “I’ll hold the principal here until 3:30 so that you can come here and interview.”
I came straight to Eton from Roeper without first changing out of the colored t-shirt required by summer camp teachers, and did the interview. Two days later, Sunday, I went to Mass at St. Columban church, whose windows face Eton Academy, and I was facing the school while praying that I get this job. I was really putting my hope in God for this one.
When I got home from the Mass, I had a phone call. I got the job.
So many prayers go unanswered. This one was different. It was just incredible. It was just so immediate.
My training is as a scientist. In science, you only accept what is objective and observable. If you can’t see, touch, hear or measure it in some way, it doesn’t exist. So this whole spirituality bit is a real leap of faith for us scientists.
Jim Kaczor, Birmingham, Michigan
Editor's Commentary: Jim goes to my church. I've known him for over 15 years. He is quick to point out that not all prayers are answered, of course. - Bill Schaef