Some of my best thinking is done while driving on a road with little traffic, that I have driven on probably thousands of times. Today was Day 1 of the school year. And so it begins. Fall is literally in the air with some hints of changing leaves and early morning cool temperatures. Summer is winding down. Going back is a mix of emotions. Can’t wait to see the students, and that will happen Thursday. Today was a day of cheerleading by administration and a day when I had to begin to adjust to a move into a new space.
This is my fifteenth year at the high school. This is my second office. I was not the creator of this change. This change was thrust upon me and pretty much beyond my control. The morning was spent getting collectively energized, followed by my washing the walls of the office, and painting a bookshelf I snagged. I figured if I had to move, I would give myself a “new” piece of furniture that seemed to be abandoned and the social worker in me felt that I could adopt it, and make it feel better and belong to my office. Of course, time and limited paint being an issue, I painted it in a rather “shabby cheap” style which means I painted the top, the standards, the bottom of the shelves and the side of the shelf that faced the door. I didn’t paint the backs or sides of the shelves since I figured that when it is filled, no one would know. Sneaky, huh? Always thinking, I am.
I am not with my colleagues that I have worked with for all these years. We have all been relocated to different spaces in the building and that’s tough. Back to the drive….I was feeling very bad for myself. I was angry. I whined a bit. I drove a little too fast which I justified because I was already late for the dentist. Then I slowed down because the highway I take is a beautiful road, tree lined and lush at this time of the year. The sky was brilliant blue and the clouds were strikingly white. I felt the anger leave my body. My brain began to reboot. I looked up at the sky again and it struck me that I could not, in any way, keep owning my disappointment, anger and feelings of loss. I have a job I love and I still have an office, though different. I do not have to worry about a change in anything significant.
Before Hurricane Harvey happened, I thought of Harvey as a giant invisible rabbit in a wonderful movie with James Stewart. Now, I see Harvey as a menacing, life altering devastation that has created a situation beyond immediate repair. I cannot begin to imagine the loss, pain and uprooting of so many people who have no home to return to, without power and resources and a lack of everything that I take for granted. My morning feeling of helplessness has no place in a world where there are others who are suffering. My change was hardly a natural disaster. It is an inconvenience and adjustment. Big deal. I’m a big girl and I will figure it out. It is not complicated.
Perspective is humbling. It allows me to reconsider my options and perhaps come up with solutions to other peoples’ heartache. I’m a professional problem solver and although I don’t provide the answers, I can help redirect someone’s emotional detour and allow them to rediscover a different route. If I can do it for others, I will start with myself. Prayers and supplies to our fellow humans and four legged creatures in Texas.