Monday, September 15, 2008

reflections by request.

Happy Anniversary! I've been in Las Vegas and teaching for just over a year. I've never really cared about the January 1st new year--as long as I can remember, I've only cared about the academic new year. It's at these points that I resolve to do things differently and reflect on the past year's changes and accomplishments. This year I have a lot to share. Especially since I've filled up my latest journal and received requests to blog.

I've been incredibly and inexplicably blessed this year. It never ceases to amaze me how the Lord provides. In thinking about the past year my mind immediately jumps to the ways that I have been provided for. I have a job that allows me to live extremely comfortably as is evident by my latest trip to Whole Foods, my sweet ride, cute and spacious apartment, this wireless internet I'm typing on, my upcoming trip to Minnesota! and a whole list of other things. I just feel so fortunate that I can have these things that I usually refer to as needs, but really they're the icing on the cake.

Even beyond the material comforts in life, I've realized that I have a huge support system. I recently was reminded of this during an episode of House. There was a patient who was on death's door and without any friends or family to comfort her or be near her; she said her favorite people were five (she was a kindergarten teacher) and therefore couldn't come to visit. Thankfully, I don't have to feel that alone--if I were to go to the hospital, I would have more people than I would know what to do with. A friend recently reminded me about how God blesses us with people as she realized that although she doesn't have a boyfriend, if she needed a man to help or comfort her, she has a long list to choose from. As do I.

It's strange that when I think of my blessings, I quickly recall material things, but the most invaluable--the people who remind me who I am and comfort my pain, those who allow me to see God more closely and fully--seem to take a few moments to make it on the list. Like Paul, I pray that you are well and deeply rooted in the truth today, that this blog finds you in good spirits.

One of the people that I am blessed to have in my life, for I am sure that God put her at my school for me, is the librarian (her name is Ann, I kid not). She's 73 and looks about 55. She always tells it like it is and shares her immense wit and wisdom with me. The other day she pulled me aside and inquired about my year so far and my health. Surprisingly, she noticed the fatigue on my face (I sometimes forget that I'm an open book of emotion) and admittedly the weariness of my soul and called me out on in. Taken aback I gave some "adjusting to the school year" excuse which she immediately redefined as the weight and oppression of the others on me. Truly, I've noticed a change in my attitude from last year to this year--in and out of school. I plan more, I like to be in control, I feel a sense of failure when plans don't come to fruition and I don't care for disorganization. I used to think that I was between a J and P in Meyers-Briggs coding, but now I know I'm a full-on J. Move over engineers, teachers will rock your logical-organizational butts. I'm professionally rewarded for this, but existentially put off. I never wanted anything to have control over my identity without my permission and I unknowningly let it. At that point in the conversation, I once again felt compelled to gather my things and head for the hills to shake off the complications and oppressiveness of living this life.

This is all to say I am frustrated by these changes which have their benefits and faults. Or rather, I'm bothered that I won't remain a stagnant being. In my lifelong quest for list making and learning, I would like to check of "understanding self" from life's "To Do" list and I'm now realizing that I don't think I will be able to and what is more frustrating, I won't be able to do the same with the other significant people in my life. I want to know everything and I'm thinking that might not be as easy as I anticipated. So this year I am continuing my journey of self and trying to figure out what and where my next step will be. Inside of the hills, which I don't think have any coffee, I have created a list of other places to move to and for those of you making lists and keeping track at home, my options include:
  • Back to school for a degree in Children's Literature and Library Science (Boston or UofI)
  • Teaching in a different school district (like Chicago, Twin Cities, Boston)
  • Going to Africa for a year to tutor missionary kiddos
  • whatever God has planned that I don't know about
I don't think, nor have I ever thought, that I will be in the classroom teaching all my life. I'm keenly interested in transitioning into my next career. This concept feels strange, mostly because I've been teaching for all of 1.2 years. I know that I need to give these things time, but when I think about this particular career change, I am more excited that I ever was about teaching in a classroom. And of course I would like to be closer to family, friends and Thomas. I miss them so very much!

I am slowly learning that while I try to plan for life and be prepared for all of life's incedentals, I can't anticipate everything and that just steals the opportunities for God to demonstrate his omnipotence and love for me and my loved ones. I am apt to make a list of the ways that God has shown himself to me this year, but that would just be anal and quantitative of our benevolent Creator. So I'll just leave this post as enough of a record.

But really, I'm interested in hearing about the ways that you've been blessed this year. Drop me a line!


P.S. Tune in next time (tomorrow?) for my thoughts on how Las Vegas and Israel are similar!


Kurt said...

Hi there!

It sounds like you just now are getting to understand the demands and the rewards of teaching, and of being an adult. Whatever your future holds make sure that it is something that you are excited about and can do well; the rest will work itself out. Talk to you soon!

kristin said...

wow! loads of thoughts.
i miss you - that's one thought.
when shall we chat, email, or something of the sort? i've been a bad friend lately, i'll admit it...