Having the luxury of age and experience does help us recognize the balance of life between good and bad, happiness and sadness. With the gift of hindsight, we now understand that some of (what we perceived at the time) the incidents in our lives we considered bad or tragic, became benchmarks to a new opportunities we had never considered.
When the position to enter the district office as a social studies specialist opened up…many of my fellow teacher friends kept pulling me aside and saying that this position had my name on it. I was terrified…of change, of the unknown. All I knew was teaching…not administration. I always thought I would spend the rest of my working career in the classroom.
When I got the call one evening that I had been selected for the position…I remember that I didn’t know whether to shout for joy or go hide under my bed covers. My mouth was so dry I could hardly respond affirmatively to the offer.
Unlike teaching…this was a new position (just created) so there were no guidelines or deadlines…I had to just find some goals that would enhance the social studies curriculum across the board and start working in that direction. It wasn’t easy. It was scary.
…But I learned a great lesson from the experience. I had the opportunity to meet amazing administrators who I would never have gotten to know, the other specialists and I grew closer over our time together in the district office and even began integrating our individual subject areas to help teachers with time restrictions.
I learned how to write grants and was lucky enough to win some…money to help teachers take courses and travel. My Berkeley co-hort, Carol Poole, and Charleston Social Studies Coordinator, Bill Smyth, pulled our expertise together to write sample questions for the standards and put summer seminars on for the lowcountry teachers.
Because of these experiences at the district level…opportunities to teach more courses at CSU and the College of Charleston opened up for me…during and after my tenure at the district office.
None of these things would have happened if I had “chickened” out that night when the call came…and turned it down. Change is scary but the status quo life is full of pitfalls too…with no opportunities to spread our wings and fly.
The following fable probably explains best how we finally reach a sense of equanimity…defined as: mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation.
(There is no doubt in my mind that the risk-taking I took along my life’s path has provided me with an important weapon to fight “little c.” A faith that God still has a plan for me and has the last word in my life’s meaning.)
Once upon a time there was an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.
“Maybe,” the farmer replied.
The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed.
“Maybe,” replied the old man.
The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.
“Maybe,” answered the farmer.
The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.
“Maybe,” said the farmer.
*I have an important request to ask of you. Friday I received a call from a friend I haven’t seen in quite awhile. Years ago we were all first-year teachers and lived in the same neighboring apartment complexes…becoming mutual friends through our educational ties. Over the years we bumped into each other at special occasions but lately…rarely.
So when the phone rang and I picked it up…and realized who it was …I was so delighted! Sally grew up with Susan Cadwell and they are now spending time together when Susan comes to see little Rhodes every month for a couple of days.
Sally and Susan had been talking and realized that Sally’s daughter-in-law, Michelle, appears to have a similar breast cancer as mine. Sally thought Michelle would like to talk to someone else going through the process of fighting this formidable opponent.
I got Michelle’s number from Sally and called. We did have a chance to compare experiences, similarities, and differences in our separate journeys through this disease. Michelle informed me that she was waiting to see if she was eligible for one of the new immunity drugs out now that help the body fight the cancer. Earlier treatments have not withstood the test of time when it comes to stabilizing her particular cancer situation.
I told her that I had an amazing group of loyal readers who had been there for me during some tough times and I had no doubt that is the reason I am still here…the power of prayer. I let Michelle know we would start a prayer chain with hopes that ….1) She gets approved for this new drug and 2) it works miracles on her present condition.
So readers, I would really appreciate prayers for this young woman going through such uncertainty ….along with her family (including a twelve-year-old daughter.) Thank you!
Until tomorrow Father help us all reach a sense of peace and equanimity in our every day lives. Help us realize that hope and a good quality of life is possible…and that just “maybe” time will show us how this will come to pass.
“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh
Some more photos from Lachlan’s birthday party.