In order for something to begin, there must be an end. The end of a year. The end of a job. The end of an illness. And while the new is waiting just over the horizon, the old has a way of leaving its mark. Routines. Emotions. Familiarity. The new is exciting and the anticipation of all it can bring is intoxicating. But it’s still new. While it seems bright and shiny, it doesn’t fit yet.
I have been in education for the last 18 years; beginning with elementary school and ending with college. For almost two decades I have either taught the young students or their future teachers and it has been such a satisfying journey. My heart has always been to encourage, motivate, and educate the students God has given me and I have enjoyed that role over the years. Nothing brings a smile to my face faster than a former student sharing where they are now and all of the successes they have had. I feel full. Like my life mattered. That maybe, something I did or said made a difference.
To let something go that has literally been a part of my entire adult life has stirred up an immense amount of emotions. Teachers don’t just stop teaching. Teaching is a part of who I am. It’s a way of life. In the grocery store with my kids, working on a project with my husband, or sharing a new skill with a friend. Teaching is in my blood and there is no way to drain it from my veins.
But there is newness on the horizon. A tug that has been there long before teaching was even on my radar. The dream of a 9-year-old girl in Harvey Waldrep’s fourth grade class. “One day, I’m going to write a book,” I used to whisper to myself. “One day, I will be an author.” Then middle school, high school, and college came with fabulous teachers like Rose Knox, Susanne Griffin, Dianne Phillips, and Cissy Adleburg. They stirred a passion for words that I could not ignore.
Funny how we push aside our dreams. Yet, here I am. Staring back at the old. Anticipating the intoxicating excitement of the new. A fresh direction that doesn’t quite seem to fit yet. A dream stifled, but now revived. New means there was once something old, but that doesn’t mean the old departs. The old made me who I am. Shaped my heart. Showed me what’s important. Gave me a purpose when I was lost.
January 2021 marks the end of the old and the beginning of the new. There are no guarantees in the world I am entering, and the rules are often hidden and blurred. But I have the stubborn determination of someone who cannot ignore her dream any longer. I will always be a teacher-my delivery style just might look a little different from now on.
What dream do you need to revive? Don’t let it die. Fan it into flame.