Prompt: What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?
This one is making me tear up while even thinking about writing. In order to let go of something, at one point you had to have held it tightly in your hands gripping it close to your chest.
What I let go of this year was the guilt of possibly leaving my current students at the end of the school year.
I realized that guilt is self-serving and yet simultaneously, serves absolutely no purpose.
Over the past few months since this school year started, I’ve struggled. The students are not different. The environment is not different. Nothing has changed. And I think that’s why I’m struggling. I can’t “see” it.
Things have come full circle in two years to realize how much dedication one must have to be a teacher in Oakland and that dedication has to be 100%. And to all those who teach in Oakland and give it every last breath, I admire you tremendously. I know who you are and know the challenges you face.
I just do not know any longer if this is the environment I feel I can best serve youth, rather, where I can best thrive to serve youth. I understand that I am making an impact whether it is visible or not, but right now, my heart is missing from it. And that is a key element. My heart needs to embrace what I’m dedicating my life towards even if I am not seeing tangible change.
(Side note: This is obviously something I’ve had difficulty articulating. I’m trying to watch my words and sift through different reasons for why this year seems…different.)
I recently read and blogged about Donald Miller’s “A million miles in a thousand years”. He focuses on the idea that creating your life is like writing a story. Although an exceptionally worthy story, this is to be someone else’s story. I see teaching here as a chapter of my story. This chapter developed so many crucial elements to my plot to carry to the next chapter. These skills, lessons, and experiences were necessary in whatever path I decide to take next – whether it is teaching at another school or going back to school or …at this point…whatever! This letting go has opened up so much possibility. Funny how that works.
I had a conversation with this woman I was put in contact with at my church. A few minutes into conversation, tears were already forming in the backs of my eyes. I had had a particularly tough time adjusting back to working after Thanksgiving break and she asked me “What brings you the most joy in life?” My response was leading retreats. That was the first response that came to mind and where it came from, I have a pretty good idea. In college, I led retreats for high school students and participated in a Global Outreach program. I found much joy in facilitating conversations around student’s lives, their interaction with others, and their interaction with God.
That night, I went home and contacted a friend who is a Director of Youth Ministry at church and will be helping lead his junior and senior girls for the remainder of the school year with some free time in the evenings.
This is something my heart is on board with.