On Dec. 4, 2017, I stepped back into full-time teaching in a high school classroom after being out of full-time teaching for over 4 years. The FINAL opportunity to pay a loan through years of service (specifically service in teaching) thrust my plans for returning into the classroom forward about six months. The decision was to re-enter the classroom now or have a whopping $20,000 added to my loans towards the American Dream (that is, educational debt). What a transition—for my boys, for Brandon, for me. I felt like I was losing so much on Dec., 4, 2017 (truth be told, I still feel this way). Because, to be honest, I was—I still am.
I’m still in a desolating place. It continues to be hard and I grieve so many things, especially the time and energy that I don’t have for my boys. I grieve the broken system of public education in this state; a system in which I am often rendered helpless (even as the teacher in the classroom!) to my students who have often lost the gleam in their eye to understand how their lives are influenced by the past. I know this is not their fault (that conversation is for an entire different post).
Despite the fact that I’m in this desolating place, I want folks to know that I am not in this place without hope. I’m in this place in my life with community. I’m here with consistent reminders that I am loved and that God is with me. I am here with a constant stream of God’s grace shown in so many ways. I have gained larger and deeper community with my City Village here in Old Asheboro. They’ve seen me at my worst, and they are continuing to choose to walk with me through the hard times. I’ve gained 165 more relationships in my students from whom I have learned so much about myself and this city. I have gained a spark in my eye for learning more and extending my reach from the classroom in hopes to directly impact and empower more youth of color in my neighborhood. I have gained really.good.neighbors in this city who want to be a part of what God is doing in this city and are joining the slow and sometimes hard-to-see work of being church. I have gained neighborhood prayer partners as we’ve walked and shared prayer requests with our neighbors. I’ve gained a deeper appreciation for the once irritating quirks of my children. I have hope. I have hope that the now is good (even though it’s hard). I have hope that the future is good. And yes, I can point to the scriptures as evidence that this is true, but honestly and more truthfully for me right now, I can point to people. Real people who are tangible signs that God has created everything and it’s all good.