What I Am Not

This is my family, minus two brothers and a sister-in-law. I am thankful for them.

I have been unbelievably discouraged by work lately, and have had to face the awful thought that has only lurked here and there before: maybe I can’t do this. Even the thought is quite a blow to my pride.

The thoughts go like this: Really, now. You just “aren’t cut out” to help the disadvantaged, even though that’s what Jesus said to do. You really can’t handle what thousands of urban public school teachers handle every year. Single mothers are doing your job and managing. You– who has received more love and care than almost anybody– you can’t do it?

The past two weeks I had parents get so angry at me they pulled their daughter out of school. I have another who had to get staples in his head from a “domestic disturbance” and has been so defiant since I’ve had to suspend him twice. Another is caring for her baby siblings all night and literally can’t stay awake during the day to get through reading. Since coming to me for reading her scores have dropped by half.

I know that this is nothing unique to my school, and sounds straight out of a movie– the kind where a passionate, unorthodox teacher bursts onto the scene, wins over all the rebellious students and defies the expectations of them all. I wish! Sometimes I do know what to do, but even then I just can’t get it all in.

I am not a teacher who has burst onto the scene but I do not mean this to be self-depreciating, either. I am having to come to terms with my limits. Perhaps I am more fragile than I have claimed; perhaps I am more  vulnerable to stress and difficulty than I like to think. I compare and compare and compare, and want to be TODAY one of those tough women who can handle anything, with grace and wisdom and awesome hair, too. I want to be able to handle anything at work and come home and have energy left over for my husband and friends.

The reality is that I am doing my best, and yet there are people better at this than I am. It’s actually a wonderful thing to accept that. Of course there are those who are better! Of course I am not the answer! In the end, for a time, God has given me this. If it came to the point that I had to look for something else, it would be hard but it would not be the worst thing.

I don’t always come home burdened with students and work, and some weekends, in fact, I enjoy my blissfully stress-free moments without a thought of the week before. or the week to come. (Is that what it means to compartmentalize? Must be nice.) This weekend it’s hard not to dwell on some of the bad stories that surfaced this week, but I am incredibly thankful for a Saviour to whom I can go.

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1 Comment

March 3, 2012 · 3:04 am

One response to “What I Am Not

  1. what a lovely family.

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