Friday was my last day to teach high school Spanish, after eight years in a job that has challenged me at every turn but has offered some of the most rewarding work I’ve ever done. Next Wednesday I’ll walk in to the school, administer the final exam, enter grades, and walk away.
This morning I opened my laptop and walked through my school Google drive folders. (Pausing for your applause that this old brain learned how to use “the Google” on this job.) Quite a few folders went into the trash.
Other folders I shared to my personal email and archived those under a new folder marked “Spanish.” Maybe I should have titled it “maybe someday again?” There they sit, and I suspect that work in my life is over.
Five little folders represent hundreds of hours’ worth of work.
Hours of praying, thinking, studying, writing and re-writing, creating and deleting and creating again. Hours of improving my craft. Hours spent asking myself what would stick in brains and influence hearts and challenge minds without discouraging souls. Hours of chewing on things in the night, my brain putting in more overtime hours than my school could ever afford to pay.
All of that work tucked into the corner of a virtual attic.
I grieve. It’s hard to follow the Lord “to the land I will show you” (Genesis 12:1) but with no address to enter into Google Maps. A long time ago, though, I heard an older woman say that she always determined never to get so attached to a place that she was unwilling to follow God’s leading to some place new. I reminded myself of that over the last eight years, as my love for teaching grew. Don’t get so attached that you get too stubborn to move, I would say to myself on occasion.
At the beginning of this school year, I found out that I wouldn’t have a classroom. So, I loaded up seven years of classroom-building into my truck and brought it home. I filled a dumpster with parts of it and put the most valuable supplies into my crawlspace, taking back to school only what would fit onto a traveling cart. Lord, are you paring me down, getting ready to move me? I prayed. It was a passing thought.
But sure enough. He was loosening my grip on my job. It was a kindness, really–helping me let go of the things ahead of time.
Letting go of an old season and moving forward into a new one is painful and disorienting.
It’s good to follow God, even into the scary unknown. It was good that I followed him into teaching eight years ago, even though I was green and terrified. I have grown, and God has used me to impact students’ lives.
It’s time to grow again. Time to grow into something new and uncomfortable.
Time to serve God’s kingdom purposes in a new way.
If you’re in a season of great change, please know that I feel how shaky your knees are. I know how many Kleenexes you need. I understand the pendulum of emotions, ranging from deep sorrow to flickers of hope and even excitement. We can do this. We can move forward in faith. God is with us, and he has good works out there waiting for us to do. I’ll step forward if you will.