I miss it, but I also miss ME.
A year ago while doing yardwork, I asked Kevin to just run over the pink rose bush in the yard that was planted before we bought the house. When we moved in, I was happy to see it there and took pictures of the blooms, but after a while, the thorny branches became unruly and tangled. After getting scratched several times and inable to avoid the four-foot hazard, with the dogs taking some hits too, I grew tired of it and asked that he destroy it in the next mow. And he did.
Six months ago, I did the exact same thing with my love for teaching and students. After suffering emotionally to a medical breaking point, I mowed it over. My body trembled as my hand pressed against my classroom door as I locked it for the last time. I couldn’t understand in the thick of it, amongst the knots and coils, why it hurt so much to move within and equally as much to rip away.
Admittedly, a lot has happened in six-months that we couldn’t have seen coming. I started another job completely outside of education which has allowed me to work from home, and we adopted a beautiful little girl on Valentine’s Day. As I’ve healed through prayer, therapy, and introspection, a child-like knock began to rap against my heart. I know this sound – sweet and light – something I haven’t heard in years.
I noticed it when I walked outside to coax one of our beagles inside the house. Almost hidden among the tall grass was a single pink bud. I crouched down to see if it was a new plant from the scattered seeds or wreckage of last season’s mow, but my palm uncovered the original root. Grabbing a shovel, I uprooted the plant, pulling other weeds from its base, and brought it inside to be replanted to start anew.
I feel a lot like this bud.
In my life’s growth, I stopped pruning myself but continued to try to bloom. I allowed others to continue to clip and take every flower I could produce without managing the weeds and thorns – then suddenly, I was only a bushel of needles and pricked fingers.
I miss teaching, and I couldn’t remember that sweet joy and purpose until I leveled myself spiritually and emotionally by stepping away. Why did I want to do this in the first place? No one steps into teaching with a desire to be a martyr, society’s door mat, or a colleague’s pin cushion – but I think those are reasons we step away.
When I knew less, when I was hurt less…I’d like to remember that pure purpose and joy. I’d like to remember what I enjoy in my life – what gives me fire and spark in the world. That’s what I should’ve been bringing into the classroom, not extracting from it.
Can I forgive myself?
for making teaching an all encompassing purpose for living, for letting the talk and whispers of others enter my heart, for not putting boundaries on my time or emotional capacity, for reaching for more without cherishing what’s in my hands, for disappointing others because I was disappointed in myself, for stealing time from my family, for losing myself
When I can – when I can repent, recenter, and remember my spark, then I can let my fingertips push open a new classroom door.