God sends us where he needs us

6/30/2006

As I See It
By Billy McCord 

Does God put us where he wants us to be or does he just leave it to chance? Are we where we are today because of a lucky or unlucky drawing?

During my last semester in undergraduate school at Ole Miss, I was assigned to do my practice teaching at Greenwood Junior High School. I was assigned to teach seventh- and eighth-grade social studies, which I enjoyed very much.

Greenwood was an excellent school system, and I certainly profited from my experience there. I wanted to teach in the senior high school at Greenwood, but there were no openings for the next school year. Toward the end of the semester I was offered a job teaching fifth-grade social studies for the next school year. It was a job, but not one I was real excited about. The lady who was principal of the school told me that my classroom would be at the front of the building, and that I would be responsible for keeping the bulletin board current.

The job had two strikes against it. First, it was in the elementary school, and I was a secondary school major. Second, I absolutely hate to decorate bulletin boards. I am one of those people who could very well have a Thanksgiving turkey on the bulletin board at Easter! But it was a job and I accepted it. 

At the beginning of the summer, I made a trip to Memphis to visit a person in the hospital. On the way up U.S. 51, I saw a sign that read “Horn Lake.” Frankly I had never been to Horn Lake, but I remembered seeing an ad for a teacher of English in the Commercial Appeal newspaper. I quickly drove out to the little town of Horn Lake, found the school and asked a carpenter where I could find the principal. He told me that he was the principal. I suspected that I had not made a very good first impression!

The school had an enrollment of just over 600 during that year and they were expecting 1,200 plus in the fall. Southaven was just beginning to develop, and those students would attend school in Horn Lake. Renovations were taking place all over the buildings. I expressed my interest in the opening in the English department and he was happy I was interested. He took my phone number, showed me the book room and where the English books were located. He told me he would call me later on. I thought it was one of those “don’t call me, I’ll call you” departures.

I made my hospital visit and returned home. As I was unlocking the door the phone was ringing. I answered and was surprised to hear the Horn Lake principal’s voice and even more surprised when he said the job was mine if I wanted it. I accepted the job then and there. I knew my meeting with the superintendent at Greenwood was not going to be good, but I was well within the 30-day notice to resign the job. I was right.

The meeting was not good, but I resigned and prepared to move to Horn Lake

My education career in DeSoto County was wonderful. I met the lady I have been married to for 37 years in Horn Lake. Our children graduated from that school district, and I retired from the district after 30 years of service.

Was it just luck that I decided to go to Horn Lake and seek employment there? I hardly think so. I believe God put me where he wanted me to be, and I am eternally grateful to Him for doing so.

McCord is a retired public school administrator and an elder in the United Methodist Church. He is pastor of the Pittsboro and Shady Grove UM churches in Calhoun County. He may be contacted at:  billymc@tycom.net.