I Know

I’ll be honest, admit to you that there I times when I wish I wasn’t.

Wasn’t going to school. Wasn’t headed to a third-floor classroom with a whiteboard that doesn’t erase and two many piles of work that needs graded.

It’s usually in the morning.

Driving to work at 7am, alongside other commuters; pausing at stop signs, red lights for still other commuters to walk to their offices, walk to their trains, walk to work.

I watch them, there in the growing morning light, and sometimes, I feel the unsettling pangs of envy rise in my stomach.

I imagine their offices. Quiet, serene places with just a little too much florescent light. I imagine them attending meetings, taking notes, stepping through cubicle-lined warehouse buildings with file folders in arm, two-inch heels settling noiselessly into the plush hallway carpet.

It’s then that I’m jealous.

Jealous of what I don’t know, as I head into a day of what I do know.

The familiar four flights of stairs. The familiar smell of young tween masked with the forced freshness of mopping solution and Lysol wipes.

The familiar press of time versus conversation.

The familiar faces of I don’t understand this, I love this, He said this, I need help with this, I can’t do this. 

In the morning, just some days, the unknown, the possibly better, glows orange and appealing in the morning light, and I feel my heart wonder, consider, what it might be like to leave the teacher life behind me.

Oddly, after school, in the exhausted aftermath of 6.5 hours of constantly meeting needs, anticipating needs overcoming needs, diffusing needs, I never consider the lives being lived in the cubicles, in the conference halls, in the office-bound work force.

The press of the hours I’ve just lived- the necessity of assimilating all this new information, the how he acted, what she needed, how they learned, what they missed, how I can help each of them- the mental and emotional job of recovering from one day, beginning to prepare for another, erases from my mind any trace of comparison, all whispers of I’d rather be and it would be better if…

Then, in the moments and hours after school, I am simply there. And I take one step forward, and then another, and I pour my mind and my heart into what is left of the day, and with that I am content.

It’s in the drive home, though, that I know.

Retracing in reverse the morning’s southbound drive, I know the route by heart now. My exhaustion and my autopilot combine, and I drive the pavement under slowly illuminating street lights, barely thinking of where I might be going.

I’m thinking, rather, of how things might change. What I might do tomorrow. The radio playing the same familiar, uplifting tunes as the morning, I get lost, wonderfully, deeply lost, in the realm of puzzles and problem solving. In those precious car minutes, between leaving school and the evening push of dinner, emails, reading, sleeping, I find myself consumed by the possibilities of how things might change, how God might work, the very next day.

In that time, I explore possible solutions to the problems I’ve watched unfold before me all day long. Problems of focus. Retaining. Organization. Planning. Cleaning. Note-taking. Supplies. I see them, there in my mind’s eye, and I explore solutions, to the background sound of K-Love’s evening jingles and the clicking of a blinking turn signal. How can this be smoother? How can I help her remember? How should that be organized? How could I answer this question?

I consider, I imagine, I plan, I pray, and right there in my car, with the window still down, the crisp fall air breezing lightly through the open space, I know. I know I’m in the right place. I know I’m doing the right thing. I know I’m doing what I was created to do, for this time.

Not because I live in a sea of warm fuzzies, not because anything about my day is easy, or even very peaceful.  But because even as my daily hours at work hit the double digits, I come home and I want to go back. I want to try a different approach. I want to start another day asking the Holy Spirit to come and guide. I want to see where the Lord takes our conversations for another day. I want to beg for His wisdom, and see where it leads.

I want to work and I want to serve, I want to open my heart wider, stretch my mind to the limits of its problem-solving capacity, because in the end, I know this classroom, these lives, are going somewhere, and every day, I want to be there for that. And in the now, before I see the change, before the light comes on, there’s still no place I’d rather be, because I’m watching the little steps, the tiny improvements, that are building lives, right before my eyes, and for that, I will work forever.

~Natalia

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