I’m in my office, wearing pajamas, late on a Saturday morning. I am listening to the quiet, slow rhythms of the Cloud Atlas soundtrack and feeling….
Humble joy? A quiet sense of grace. A rising of emotions as my computer indicates more and more notifications.
This trying and exhausting and beautiful and wonderful and dichotomous school year is ending. I am celebrating.
I am mourning.
The failures that I thought were permanently painted on the walls have slowly transcended into victories. Tiny moments that, when I stack them one upon the next, have become an understanding that I did something right.
Bob published my blog about our video conference. And the congratulations just keep pouring in. All these beautiful and wonderful strangers are reaching out to me, to us, and praising us for stepping outside our comfort zones and braving violent thunderstorms (Bob’s side of the world) and emotionally anxious thunderstorms (my side of the world) and connecting so that my students could learn.
Yesterday, Caroline and Sarah, two former students, visited me. As they walked into my classroom, I embraced each of them, felt the memories fall against me and the world righted itself into this peaceful arch.
All is good. All is well.
Sarah had to leave earlier than I expected, but Caroline and I spent hours chatting, weaving out our memories of shared experiences and then connecting them to our own separate moments. The distance of time evaporated. The separation of age elapsed. Madeline L’Engle’s tesseract folded and wrinkled up time and miles and just sat on my treasured classroom couch and we talked.
When Caroline left, I hugged her once more and made her promise to come visit me when she returned from Italy. And this beautiful, wonderful young woman smiled and promised. And as she left, I could see the contrails of these moments that I have been needing all year.
I guess, in some way, I needed to see something that, even now, I struggle with explaining, with putting into some form of concrete outline. I am not trying to seek the extrinsic validation and reassurance, but damn it feels good to see that all of my floundering and questioning hasn’t been for naught.
I’m not the smartest person, not the best teacher. I just try to do clever things for my students so that they aren’t being pushed from one cookie cutter to the next. I want them to know they are important, even if only in my corner of the world.
A year ago, I walked thirty miles of the Appalachian Trail and found the ribbons of my courage and self-confidence, plaiting them against the frayed, necrotic ends of my anxiety and insecurity with the hopes that the implants would hold.
I succeeded and failed and…now–standing at the edge of the other side of the year with summer vacation only two weeks away and screaming at me just to come and launch myself over the precipice and land in the warm, streaming water below me–
the little moments
that I have stacked one on
top of the other have truly formed
something that is wonderful. A pyramid can
Be a tomb. It can also be a repository, a holding place
for all those experiences that matter, that build and reconstruct.