Saturday, January 07, 2017

Is It Even Worth It?

This week has been rough! So many thoughts and feelings are swirling around my mind. I recognize that in my life, I have been best able to work through these kind of moments if I put words to those thoughts and feelings. It is freeing for me, it is my inexpensive therapy. It is usually when I have my epiphanies and ah-has.

After a refreshing Winter Break, I returned to work, joyous, energized, and ready. Seriously, like ear to ear smile, happy. I love what I do as an Interventionist. I feel like I make a real difference in kiddos lives. I build deep meaningful relationships. I get to help struggling kids reach their potential. I encourage them to grow and bloom. I get lots of hugs. I see progress; physical, emotional and academic daily.

Yet shortly into the day our team had a meeting and found out that everything is changing. I can't really go into details but just trust me when I say my world was turned upside down and shaken. And at first I was taking it in stride and optimistic. Then as my analytical mind went to work, that shifted. I began to realize all the things affected. The way my mind works, I quick scan all potential results. I see cause and effect very clearly. I usually recognize details often overlooked because of this. So I question everything. When I find it to be noteworthy, I express those things to those around me. Which I did in both the meeting and one on one. I have an amazing boss, don't be jealous but I do. I was able to speak my heart on how I was feeling and potential concerns that I had. I was heard. Yet as the day progressed the finality of it all was evident. My mind could grasp hold of the big picture. I could support why the change was being initiated. I could also see the ripple effects. I could see the strain on co-workers faces. I felt it. I know they felt it. When I finally at the end of the day, after an all staff meeting gave that final hit to the gut, I made my way to my car. Where the tears started to fall and did not stop falling. That night I shed more tears than I could count as the grief process kicked in.  I was honest to goodness grieving. The loss of relationship with kids I have been servicing. I felt a loss of space. A loss of identity. A break of trust. Feeling like I was abandoning fellow teachers and my kids. This last point was a huge trigger. Abandonment. It is real. While I realize it is not my doing to no longer be servicing some of my kids, I know there will be disappointment. And for some of my kids that have been abandoned already in this world, be it death or imprisonment of a loved one, neglect or just lifes flows, the hurt is real in these kids lives. To be another notch in that hurt, stung deeply. To the point of lost sleep and shed tears.

 When I got to work the following day, I thought I was going to be okay. But just a few words in the lounge and it was evident, I was not okay. I had to get out and as I did I bumped into a dean immediately followed by our principal. "Is everything okay?" and before she could even finish the words, she saw the tears and sobbing which had started, it was evident, NO EVERYTHING IS NOT OKAY. I was quickly ushered into my bosses office, which was conveniently located right next door. I spent the next 15 minutes sobbing and pouring out my heart. My grief. My frustration. My feelings over the loss of my space. My rationals. My understanding. A plea. Slowly the tears stopped. Yet again I was heard. By both my immediate boss and the principal. For which I am thankful. I know not everyone gets opportunities like that. Not that bawling your eyes out is a super becoming experience to have with your co-workers and leadership, but I'll take it. I was able to hear some of their perspective. My boss spoke some truths about me. She reminded me that I am amazing and I can and will thrive wherever I am planted. Also that my passion is one of my strengths and in cases like this, my weakness. I do care  and I care deeply. This is one of the things that makes me a great educator. These words of encouragement were enough for me to take a deep breath, dry my eyes and get on with my day. I was able to talk briefly with my fellow teachers that I felt like I was abandoning and that helped with that issue. Miraculously, I was able to make it through the day, kicking butt on bench marking.

Wednesday and Thursday passed. I was going to make it through. I was sad but functioning. In the workplace, I was driving myself with the task at hand, getting it done. Whisperings in the hallway, validate what I am feeling. I'm not the only one. The stress and the strain is there. I am watching some of my coworkers slip into depression. I find myself heading there too.
Friday, whispers find words and discontentment. During the day, I plug away, testing. The kids none the wiser to the anger that is rising. By dismissal, the words 'Is it even worth it?' are playing on repeat. And I don't know if it is.

When I got home, I slipped into bed. Depression had arrived. I laid there for four hours, not moving.  I had spoke with hubby and he gave me his blessing to give my notice if that is what I felt best. In all honesty, I don't do my job for the income. I would do it for free. In fact, I have done this and more as a home educator, for free. So the income is just icing for me. But at what point does money not matter and you have to honestly ask yourself, is it even worth it. It was quickly becoming that moment. I was ready to give notice, yet I did not want to act rashly. I knew I needed to give myself time to process it all. I knew I needed to wrestle it out with Jesus. I knew I was slipping into darkness so I reached out and solicited encouragement from my people.

As I laid there I let my mind do what it does. I let it scan. It took inventory. I looked at job postings, there are some promising ones. I reflected on relationships, past and present within my school. All the while my son is encouraging me to come home, so that I can homeschool him again. And then the encouragement starts pouring in. Kind words. Perspectives. Condolences. Bible verses. Job leads. Things that made me smile. I would not get out of bed, but I was smiling. I'll take it. Some of them caused me to reflect even deeper on different aspects. Things from my past life that I miss. Maybe I should homeschool the boy. What would that look like? What is best? ....some checked in via PM and another called me. Thank you! All part of the processing. Validating. The comments kept pouring in. It made me so very grateful for my village. It made me think of each person's personalities, their gifts, their talents, some I was able to recall experiences that individuals were able to persevere through, some it triggered past conversations.

Perseverance. It just so happens to be the moral focus for the month of January in our school. Part of me was flippant in my response. Give my notice and take that perseverance. I'm out. And yet. I am not one to give up. My anthem, yes I have an anthem, is I Won't Give Up. Excuse me for a sec as I go retrieve this from My Music. I know that it wasn't originally written or performed by the Royce Brothers, but that is the version that is now playing on my phone. When I first accepted this job, this song rose quickly as a favorite. Especially these lyrics:
🎶I don't wanna be someone who walks away so easily
I'm here to stay and make the difference that I can make
Our differences they do a lot to teach us how to use
The tools and gifts we got, yeah, we got a lot at stake
And in the end, you're still my friend at least we did intend
For us to work we didn't break, we didn't burn
We had to learn how to bend without the world caving in
I had to learn what I've got, and what I'm not, and who I am

I won't give up on us🎶

It became my anthem. Whenever I faced a difficult child. I would sing this song in my heart. I made a commitment to not give up on these kids. Dang it! Even listening to it now, I know. I don't give up. I have learned what I've got, what I'm not and who I am. I've got mad skills when it comes to working with kids. I am not perfect. I have my limitations and frustrations. I am not a quitter. I am an educator. I am professional. I am a champion to the forgotten and lost. I am a defender of what is right. I am a speaker of truth. I am a difference maker.
Can I persevere?

And then past conversations. I clearly recall the moment God spoke to me that I was to apply for this job. Clearer still that he called me there. And I can recall in conversation with a particularly awesome mentor that I knew without a shadow of a doubt that he called me there and that is where I would stay until he called me out. He has equipped me for this exact work and place. He prepared me for the messiness of kids broken hearts. He did not prepare me for the messiness of corporation, maybe that is a lesson for now. So this dear mentor posts a comment and it is SPOT ON. And I know.
I am not to shrink back. I am to have faith and persevere. I am to lift my hands to the heaven and ask Him to guide me. I am to strive for peace. I am to stay.

I fell asleep to those thoughts. I awoke in those thoughts. So again the question, is it even worth it?

Yes! Yes! Yes! These kids are worth it alone. He who called me there will be faithful to see me through. The hugs are worth it. Making a difference is worth it. Having my name called out with joy and expectation is worth it. Seeing beauty rise up out of the ashes is worth it. Seeing test scores rise, while not an end all be all, it is gratifying and worth it. Each name. Each face. Each story. Each letter learned. Each story read. Each struggle that ends in overcoming. Yes! Yes! Yes! It is worth it.

Is the corporate hogwash worth it? Um, no! But that is not why I am there. So I will make my way through all of that and continue to be a voice for what is right and good. Who knows, maybe my voice will be heard and we will all be the better because of it.

Lastly, as I was concluding this writing a friend shared this song with me and it is perfect! Bringing me back to pure joy! It is going to be alright!

Thanks everyone who prayed me through this week! I love you! My village is awesome. You too make life worth living. You make me smile. You make me ponder. You make me better! XXXOO