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“Welcome to the planet, welcome to existence, everyone’s here everyone’s here everybody is watching you now. Everybody waits for you now, what happens next? What happens next?” Switchfoot
I will always say that teaching is, by far, the hardest job I have ever had. Unless you have stood in front of hundreds of kids who’s educational futures depend on you; you can not imagine the amount of energy necessary to stretch the young minds and hearts of high school students. Work sits on your dining room table, it is hiding in your laptop, on your voicemail or text and in the supermarket when you run into parents.
It was April of 2009 and we were in the home stretch to finish out the school year. I oftentimes fell asleep 45 minutes before my alarm would go off to go to work. If any of you have ever experienced any form of insomnia or sleep deprivation, you know that you are not capable of making logical choices, or engaging in conversations. You are especially unable to hang toe to toe with high school students, in any arena.
Most people like to think that if you experience a hospitalization like I did that everything should be “all good”. In fact, the opposite is true. Think of a hospitalization like that as triage, meant to stop the bleeding. Think of the time after that as corrective surgery after corrective surgery. Each surgery unearths more things to be fixed. Trusting the Surgeon is hard if not impossible as there is just so much to fix.
“It has been said ‘Time heals all wounds’, yet for the untreated or poorly treated wound, time will infect, then scar. For the unset or improperly set bone, time will knit, then lame. Treat the wound properly, set the bone aright, then time becomes the servant of healing and ceases to be its enemy. As it with the body, so it is with the soul, the interaction, the conversation, the relationship” Dr. Tom Petit
CCHS continued to be a strong pillar for me. Parents, students and leadership did everything they could to help me. At some point it became obvious that I still needed time. I needed sleep. And the kids needed a teacher.
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart” Psalm 72:26
This part of this story is so hard to write because my world got turned upside down, again. But, it was exactly what needed to happen. Because the administration of CCHS loves and cares for people over rules and sometimes logic–they let me take the rest of the year (which was about 30 days) to rest.
“Welcome to the fall out welcome to resistance the tension is here the tension is here in between who you are and who you could be between how it is and how it should be.” Switchfoot
I have worked, in some form, since I was 12 years old. It didn’t matter if I was selling boiled peanuts, thriving in a start-up business or teaching school. I had never spent one day in my adult life without a job–without a purpose. That day, I was stunned. And, for some reason I didn’t have my car and had to have Crissy come pick me up. I was unable to see that they were helping me–I wanted to vanish in thin air. I threw my stuff in a box, slipped out of the back of the school and waited for Crissy to pick me up. Still unable to cry, I just felt, so lost, and so confused. What now? What will distract me? Where will I find purpose? What will people say? What will they think? What was the administration doing?
“Dare you to move, dare you to move, dare you to lift yourself up off the floor. I dare you to move, I dare you to move, like today never happened, today never happened before” Switchfoot
One of my favorite stories in the Bible is that of Jacob and his wrestling match with the angel. Sometimes I feel like Jacob when he said “I will not let go until You call me blessed” Like Jacob, I am pretty stubborn. His fight was a long and arduous fight, but Jacob got his blessing–and a life-long limp.
Fights like that leave scars and I don’t think I realized I was engaged in a battle to live–not giving up until I received a purpose for all the pain and trauma. As long as I put that job, those kids, that purpose in front of what was necessary for me to live–I was in sinking sand.
I did not want to let my ministry go–I wanted to go there everyday. People who choose to fight these fights will never be the same–people who fight these fights don’t want to ever be the same. I will go to my grave eternally grateful for this time in my life. There is so much to say and hindsight is perfect. But, from the bottom of my heart, thank you, thank you CCHS, you know who you are.
Next up, getting better and for the first time, maybe ever, living with only one expectation. Breathe. Yet even that proved sometimes impossible and my heart was literally failing me. Everybody that knew and loved me knew we were in a critical period; and I gathered an army and we marched up the hill. There was just so much to conquer.
Unbelievably grateful of all who take turns at the life-guard stand for me. And for sometimes swimming in the deep with me.