Against the Current

Posted by on Jul 7, 2016 in Goals, Grief, Healing, Hope | 0 comments

At the end of the 2015-2016 School year, I found myself exhausted more than usual.  It had been a rough year for me personally and professionally.  The school year loomed with 3 deaths, teachers and students under attack, weapons found in or around the building, a lack of support from the superintendent, and the list goes on. Personally, I was recovering from culture shock from spending a year in the Dominican Republic.  One would hope that was all, but it wasn’t.  There were a few deaths in our family as well as a near death.  Needless to say, I was exhausted emotionally, spiritually, and physically.  It felt like I had nothing left to give to my students, my friends, or my family.

Behind my apartment complex there is a creek with a walking trail and I found myself on that trail a lot near the end of the school year.  After my grandpa died, I found a rock that I could sit on and just watch the water move downstream.  It was calming to my spirit.  I would sometimes read, pray, or just observe my surroundings.  During this time, a duck found its way to the creek.  He was by himself and stayed in a fifty foot radius for those several weeks I found myself on the rock.  Eventually, I named him, Fred.  It seemed fitting for some reason.  One day, it dawned on me that Fred enjoyed working his way up stream and when he reached the bridge he would turn around and just ride the current.  And I thought to myself, “that’s what we need to do.”  After everything that we had been through as a school and a family, we needed to work hard to recover from the loss, work hard to improve grades, or attain whatever goal that we had, so that when we reached the end, we could just enjoy the ride.

Grieving is hard work.  Loss will always come and it will eventually be followed by blessing.  But during the time of grief, it’s important to go against the current by allowing oneself to experience the emotions that come. One must move forward a little bit each day and before too long has passed the emotions of grief will subside and a sense of happiness may return.  Joy will fill in the gaps during the remembrance of good times and what once was.  When I first saw Fred riding the current downstream it was as if he was screaming, “weeeeeee.”  He was thoroughly enjoying the accomplishment of his hard work.  And then the journey started all over for him.  Granted, he could have just flown to the bridge, but he wouldn’t have reaped the benefits of working hard.

Life is like that, ya know?  We have a choice.  We could take the easy route or we could work hard. If we take the easy route, we would never reap the benefits nor see gains in our lives.  For my students, they could cheat, but there would be no gain in their knowledge.  With grief, one could stuff it all down and hope that it never comes up again, but the reality is that eventually it will need to be dealt with.  There are hundreds of examples that could be written about.  We work hard, enjoy the accomplishment for a bit, and then another thing comes around again.  My suggestion is to continue going against the current so that our lives will be better for it and in the end we can ride downstream.  May we be able to say, “weeeeeeee” all the way home!

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