The challenge of this year has been that I have had so little time and space to process all that has happened, but I knew this would be the case. I knew after accepting my current position that I would have to jump into the work almost right away, that I would not have the chance to think through the sadness of losing a job and position that I wanted so badly to keep.
When my dad passed away, I knew I would face the impossible task of leading a new school in an emotionally compromised state. I’d have to get to know new kids, a new community, a new staff, and new curriculum, and provide direction and support (!) that engendered confidence and excitement. I would have to do so while communicating affectively that “I’m fine.”
It is hard to objectively evaluate how I performed over the first few months of the job, but it seems like I’ve been okay. I’ve had some missteps and oversights, I continue to be hyper-aware of my weaknesses, and I’ve had some nice successes, too. Most importantly, my professional relationship with my principal has been strong. It is some kind of minor miracle that I think I have grown a lot professionally over the first few months.
I knew that I would have few moments of down time – having two young kids does not afford you too many opportunities to pause.
I have eagerly awaited this moment right now – winter break – because I knew this would be the only window of time where I would have a bit of time to engage in meaningful, uninterrupted reflection.
I’m here now. I am thinking about how sad I feel and how fortunate I am. I cannot believe the amount of loss I have experienced and how weary I feel. I am frustrated that I didn’t have the chance to say goodbye to my brother, and I am frustrated that I didn’t have the chance to say goodbye to my dad. I regret going to a couple more work meetings instead of going straight to the hospital. I cannot believe how much joy and happiness I am surrounded by every day. Death has made me acutely aware of all the “thin spaces” I wander into all the time. Death has (forcefully) made me aware that it too is a part of life with God. I’m not sure what I thought I’d find here, in this little, quiet coffee shop down in Portland, but I’m here now.