If God had ever said to me, “Bob, I can either give you a million dollars or let you be part of the instructional staff at the University of Florida, you choose.” … I would have replied, “Who needs that much money? Go Gators!”
As someone who grew up in Gainesville, earned my undergraduate degree in education at UF, and walked around the campus of UF with Kathy on our first date, I never dared dream that one day, I would sport a UF nametag and have at least some influence on the education of 240 students who refer to me as “Dr. Ayres”.
You can recognize me on campus as the old guy with a backpack, riding an orange, electric bicycle and with a somewhat giddy smile of amazement on his face.
In my head, I’m saying to God: Lord, I just cannot believe you opened this door for me to be on this campus! I get to instruct some of the smartest, most motivated young people on the planet. Certainly, I can now die a happy man (though hopefully not anytime soon). Riding a bicycle through masses of cars, bikes, scooters, skateboards and anything with at least one wheel—the most daunting, are the drivers with one hand on the steering wheel and the other holding a smartphone—these things often bring me much closer to Jesus than I anticipated.
Yet God’s favorite word seems to be, “Surprise!”
Now, for the reality check: it is only fifteen hours a week, provides occasional opportunities to teach, and is not a permanent position. I have other things God is calling me to do so I may or may not apply for a full-time position. Yet this experience is the fulfillment a young boy’s dream and satisfaction for an old man’s ego to bear the title: Adjunct Lecturer – University of Florida.
My parents have passed away, but they would be so proud. Both were career educators (graduates of UF) and Dad taught at the college level for a couple of decades. He loved going to graduations (which I certainly do not) and he was always advising undergrad students to major in math. Dad would often remark, “You can succeed in any profession, if you major in math.” Mom was our greatest encourager and believed that her kids could anything with enough time and effort.
Isn’t it funny, that at 63 years old, even with both parents gone, I still want to make them proud. By the way, I didn’t major in math… which may explain why an offer of a million dollars from God wouldn’t hold that much sway for me.
The point of this blog (besides sharing my exuberance) is to pay attention to the blessings of today. Never have so many, had so much, for so long. Pause from stressful distractions in life to pause, breathe, look into the eyes of your loved ones (both two and four-legged ones), pick up a good book, or just ponder the gifts in your life. They embrace us.
In fact, I bet you could name half a dozen really cool things in your life right now! For one, you are God’s precious creation and he is good, all the time. One of my colleagues says that God “winks” at us sometimes to remind us of all the good things in life.
Join me in taking a moment and notice something good in your life. Look around. They are right there; somewhere in your heart, mind, or line-of-sight.
As God winked and said, “Surprise!”
I responded, “Go Gators!”