Thursday, December 14, 2017

She gather me, man.

“She is a friend of mind. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order. It’s good, you know, when you got a woman who is a friend of your mind.”

  • Toni Morrison, Beloved

For months and months I had no good answer when folks would ask why I had changed districts. It wasn’t the past admin. Not at all. It certainly wasn’t my coworkers. In fact, I worried that I might be losing some people that I had come to care for very, very much. In time, what I would come to realize is that my Amy, my Neesa, my Donna, and my Kathy, and all the many more would continue to be a part of my life. I had not left them.

I had simply been moved.

For a while, I was shallow enough to think I had been moved because my teaching talents were needed in this new place. I fell instantly in love with my new environment, with my students, my admin, my team. As always, I had a blast preparing for the new school year, drawing up lesson plans, decorating my room, meeting everyone and putting names to faces.

And then - during the second nine weeks I hit a wall and I had a total epiphany.

I wasn’t there for anyone else.

I was there because there were people there FOR ME. I would go through something deeply personal, deeply profound, something that rocked me like I had never been rocked before. It would have nothing to do with my marriage, with my teaching career, or with our kids or business. But it put me in a place of vulnerability that I had never felt before. Things from my past pelted me right and left. “Lost” moments that I had evidently blocked out suddenly became vivid memories. I was used to being able to “cover my emotions,” or hide my feelings, wearing a mask to cover any imperfections. This time I would not be able to do that.

I cracked and my new team drew me in. They quite literally encircled me, prayed for me, and allowed me to ugly cry in front of them. Betsy, Telly, and Haylie are my angels. They are three of the most encouraging, godly, FUNNY women I have ever known and I cannot imagine having the breakdown I did at work with anyone but them.

With their encouragement, and after hearing my story, I felt empowered to reach out to three more women. Women who should have been on my go-to list decades ago. This whole lesson has taught me that I am not invincible; I cannot do all things on my own. I don’t have to appear perfect. In fact, there’s a HUGE degree of relief in admitting, “Hey I do not have my shizzle together.  This happened to me and - quite frankly - it messed me up.” Never having had a sister myself, I turned to the next best thing, my sisters-in law - Kay, Melinda, and Robyn. Once again, that sisterhood of rallying - almost like circling the wagons to protect the settlers…

By the way, it’s now almost the end of the calendar year, and your husband is immensely grateful that you’ve finally turned to female confidantes. The business, by the way, has more than doubled during the course of the year. You’re not quite going to make your end of the year  deadline, but you’re going to be very close. Already you have four weddings on the 2018 B&B calendar, and the cabins have about an 85% consistent booking rate. Sharing this passion for this hospitality business has brought you even closer as a couple.

You wouldn’t have thought so a month ago, but you’re leaving 2017 healthier than you entered it. Spiritually, emotionally, with your marriage, your family, your job, and your business…

Girl, you are going to go into this 50th year of your life dancing because you know what is important in this life...