… on me.
… on me.
We’ve hauled around 1000 days together, maybe a few more. When I got there, their eyes were staring up at me. Most of them weren’t yet fully themselves. They were chasing after being somebody else or another. Most of them looked back and forth toward friends a great deal before speaking or acting. Nobody, really looked at me too seriously. I was just another in a long line of teachers who would do what they could and then take a seat in the their lives. And I have been that…for many, for most of them.
I didn’t want to be. But, I was and I’m okay with that.
But tonight several of “my kids,” the ones I write about as often as my own, graduate…and that makes me so very sad, except for the fact that they have agreed to take me with them. Most, not all, but most of ‘my kids” are staying in town on scholarship to one of the finest schools, particularly for health fields, in the United States.
Next year, with Pastor Jeremy’s oversight, I will run our Edge initiative. I will also start a college small group aimed at helping to further train these “stay at homes” and integrate those that they meet in college. And, in turn, the “stay at homes” will help us run Edge.
So, it is the end of a rather long day…ah, but soon comes the breaking of a bright new dawn.
Last weekend we broke a leg, figuratively. This weekend, we broke a wrist, literally. Meghan, my daredevil, very unglamorously broke her arm, skating. She would rather it had been sky-diving. She’s been quite the trouper, doing all she can by herself, seeking help with a button or especially difficult manuever only when necessary. She’s like that, very independent.
But, injury is going to slow her down, set some boundaries on her, at least the first half of this summer and that more than anything has her sort of bummed. There are beach trips and daily jaunts to the pool and volleyball camp which will most likely not be the same for her as she expected. I get her pain, frustration. I feel it in my life all the time, injury hurts, but acknowledging injury and giving it opportunity for true healing is sort of a pain of its own. Sitting out, resting when restlessness takes hold and being still is hard. But, so very necessary. If I don’t make this child do less, give the injury time to heal, she will re-injure it. That re-injury might not be as clean of a break as this. A twisted, bent and forever impaired wrist could be the outcome.
So I will fight the cliff diver and ground her. I will steady the wanderlust of the adventurer and pen her in a while.
And maybe, just maybe, I will have sense enough to let God do the same to me.
It took a bit of time, a bit of thought, but I got those letters to the seniors written. I love the process, always a mysterious one. I never know what I will write to whom. Some are cheerful congratulations, some are hopes for the future, some are my recounting of things I remember, some are something else all together.
Funny thing is, I can never predict who will get what. Writing most made me smile. Writing several made me cry.
It’s funny to me how my heart so twists around their lives, how it found and still seeks to find ways to gain and keep traction between us. I’m not an extremely professional educator. My ways are messy, I can’t find a way to love tidily. And in summation of all of our time together, I give them these letters that say things sometimes beyond their grasp, or that speak plainly of things more drop down than most adults dare go, or that admit to dreams and visions and other side effects of life lived with a sometimes seer.
I am who I am, for good and for otherwise, and I share it freely with them, if not most of the adults in my life.
It’s sort of scary and sort of wonderful to do so. But, this kind of purposeful writing is something that I so want at least a few of them to pass on in their lives. Today, a student hugging me tight at Baccalaureate offered, “Mrs. Sullivan, I wrote you a letter, too. Are you bringing yours to graduation, that’s when I will give you mine.”
With no greater gains, it is already, a success.
I don’t think most expected much, they never do of these. But this class, who are mine, ever, always, who I have seen from nearly day one…are more than they appear, they are sleepers and more serious than they would ever betray to unbelievers.
But, for good or ill, I believe; it’s my business and I have always believed in these kids. I see and find folks of their ilk and age: the restless and resisting. So does the incredible teacher/mentor the wind and waters of Katrina carried our way this year. So much more than a colleague, my friend, Melissa, who is maybe even a bit more stubborn a believer than I am, saw and stuck it out with them, too. Their performance is the fruit of her heart’s work as well.
Last night, this class gave the second of two stellar performances. No one in attendance failed to rave, no one who spoke to me could ever remember anything nearly so fabulous at our school. Those students burst right through that malaise that they’ve somehow come to carry as a trademark. But, the malaise never was a real thing, just a thing imagined by those easily put off by the questioning and cantankerous. I think it was more a veil, hiding them until they could better grow into themselves.
I am, have always been proud to call them mine, to claim them however they might have me in their lives.
Really wish you could have been there. It was sweet, sweet in so many ways.
( Gotta run. I still have letters to write.)