The awarding ceremonies, which I was not told about, happened while Tony and I were in the US.
One week after we got back home, I decided to drop by the university where I teach—a stone’s throw away from my doctor’s clinic—to say “hello” to my colleagues in the faculty room. But the place was empty, as the new school year has not begun.
On my way out, I met the HR director. Her face lit up, “Good you’re finally back! Please come to my office.”
From her desk, she picked up two plaques and handed them to me with flourish, “You got two awards at our end-of-school-year event!”
Reading the citations, I muffed my words—an indescribable state of being that renders the mouth immobile; a feeling that urges you to shout with joy but your throat is choked.
“Awards boost the ego,” my ex-boss used to say. But that wasn’t how I felt at all. My ego no longer needs boosting. In the sunset of my years, I’ve trashed my self-importance into a place unseen.
But why was I ecstatic?
Awards such as these are like arrows that point me in the right direction. Since these were based on my students’ (my main stakeholder) definition of me, I feel that the hours I spent creating ways to make sure they learned had not been for naught.
These are the same students who, two months earlier voted me as this (published in our university magazine):
It’s uncanny that the title they gave me is the book genre I chose for my adult readers.
So do awards matter?
Does grace matter?
Leaving the workplace years back, while I was contemplating on writing a lot and teaching a little, I won my first Palanca award. That was one of my decision points. It affirmed the route I wished to take then, now, and until the Lord says, “Enough.”
And most of all, earthly awards foreshadow the ultimate prize I work and live for.
“I run toward the goal, so I can win the prize of being called to heaven. This is the prize God offers because of what Christ Jesus has done.” Philippians 3:13 (CEV)