Sunday, June 23, 2013

From the Shore

It had been a rotten week. The School District decided I need to move to another school next year, in a different town, and each day was worse than the one before it. The students found out and wanted to know why I was leaving. I didn't know what to tell them, as I didn't really  know myself. I wrote a letter to the higher-ups and asked to stay, based on the hardship of being a one family car, and I received no answer. Not even an acknowledgement of my request, a "We'll take it into consideration", or a simple, "No." On Thursday we took a field trip and hiked up Gap Mountain. Two grades full of students that I have worked with over the years, and that I will miss horribly. Still, it was great to get away and forget about it for a few hours and just enjoying being out in nature with the kids.

Then Friday came. The day I had been dreading all week. I knew it was going to be awful, having to actually say goodbye to the kids, and the friends that I had worked with for almost 10 years, but nothing could have prepared me for the assembly we had. The assembly where we said goodbye to all the staff that was leaving: 2 retires, 1 leaving on her own accord to work for another district where things weren't going down the drain, 1 transfer for a better cause and 4 transfers against their own will. Our poor students didn't know what to make of it, and our staff was just a wreck. Saying goodbye to the kids, and then my co-workers was one of the hardest things I've had to do in a long time. Or so I thought, until I had to walk out the doors for the last time, and down the street, knowing I would not be returning.

When she had asked if we could go to the beach on Saturday, to meet up with her boyfriend who lives up North but was spending the summer with his grandparents in Lee, I almost said no. I only have a week off until my summer job starts, a graduation cookout to get ready for at the end of that same week, and beach plans already for Wednesday. Then I reconsidered. The ocean is where I find my balance. The place where I go where everything else in my life is falling apart. So I said yes, but not for her, for me.

The soft sand warmed my feet as I slid my flip flops off next to my tote bag. I gave him a gentle kiss, and headed down for the water. It was close to noon on the second to last Saturday in June, and school had just gotten out for the summer. The State Park was packed with people and I wavered between being glad to be there, and feeling surrounded and like I wanted to flee. A warm breeze blew across the water, keeping it from being too hot, and I was grateful for it as I made my way towards the rocky jetty. I walked along the waters edge, not letting my feet get wet, as I wasn't ready for that yet. Instead of heading out over the jetty, I turned right and walked up towards the State Park campground. Right before you crest the hill is a granite memorial bench. I sat on that bench, and I prayed.

Sea grass surrounds that bench, adorned with purple flowers. You can see the jetty, facing in one direction, and look out across the ocean. Turn your head, and you can watch the cars come across the ferry bridge. The traffic moving slowly as people made their way towards the start of their summer vacations. I sat there for a while, watching, and thinking, and just being.

I went to the beach the find my balance, and as I prayed, I let go: of my fears, of my worries, of the stress of the past week. I offered up my future to God, and accepted that only He knows the next chapter of my life. Until that door opens, I will be here. Waiting, trusting, and enjoying the gift of each day that comes. Yesterday, it was a beautiful day at the ocean, where I came to realize that despite all the hardships of the past few years, I am growing, and changing, and my life truly is full of blessings.

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