I have some stories to tell you today. There has been so much on my heart lately. It's time to let you in on some of it.
Two weeks ago, I started working 30 hours/week as the receptionist at my daughter's school. It's a good job for me. I like receiving people. I am already collecting stories. It's a community and I am learning to be their hostess. It's a great entry-level opportunity for someone like me who's been out of the official workforce for twenty years.
There are several outlines of purpose for me being there that shimmer in my peripheral vision. It's not always easy. I confronted a group of teenage guys one day and that didn't go well. I felt threatened, intimidated, and righteous anger. But it could have gotten me into some trouble, and I know I am naive in ways. And yet, my naiveté also finds me with an open heart, ready to encourage and care as opportunities arise. From Kindergarteners who easily take my hand to outcast 5th graders who only have the lunch aide (me) to sit with and share their troubles, I am there for those sacred moments.
The school has a diverse population. As a charter school, we offer options from full-time independent study to a part-time classroom experiences for K-12. There are all sorts of people who come through. And yet, in our small town, connections are easily made and I feel more a part of it now, the community at large. I'm not just doing my own thing, but bringing who I am into a 3D world 4 days/week. It feels really good and right.
Providence knew that I would need this change from the focus of last school year. As many of you know, I became a Story Coach through the Story Unfolding in 2014 and worked hard with others even across the Atlantic to build something together. Personally, I imagined a collaborative experience of intersecting faith and art with each Story Coach bringing to the community their uniqueness. We led write-ins, helped host an in-person retreat, and planned e-courses, virtual retreats, and collectives. I am so thankful for the diverse group of women I have been privileged to spend time with over the last 15 months. I wish I could list everyone who made such a profound impact on me. And my own art, the art of people, became a thing. I learned what I long for and how I can express it, further exploring my deepest passion meeting one of the world's greatest needs more than I ever have before.
However, the week I started my new job, the coaches' agreement with the business owner dissolved without notice at the business owner's choice. That was her prerogative and it did not surprise me. But it profoundly affected my friends and the community as a whole. It shook our foundations. Over the last 10 days, many have chosen to move on, including me. I'm saddened by this, because I wish the story had been written differently. I believe it could have been with much less casualty. And I also believe messes don't tell the whole story. I've made too many of them myself. If there isn't hope in the mess, if the only hope is in everyone doing things perfectly, there would be no chance for me. But the community is going to look different, I am no longer needed as a leader there, and so I am quietly moving on.
My focus continues to be on rebuilding and renewing some of the tearing down that happened over the last five years. It will take some time. I feel vulnerable coming into the holiday season again. I have 30 pounds to lose, debt to pay off, and parenting that continues. Relationships need healing in ways I don't know how to do. And my heart continues to find itself intersecting with young adults carrying heavy burdens most often placed there by the religion I know so well. It is not an accident to me that many of the ones I long to care for will come through my new office.
There is still plenty of work to do and love to grow.
If you are here from Story Sessions and want to stay in touch, we are probably friends on Facebook. Do follow me here, on Twitter, or Instagram, too. It's been a great ride. I love you.