I was at school, somewhere in the middle of my last day of student teaching at the junior high school, when I found out about the unimaginable incident in Connecticut. I was shocked and I started to tear up. I showed the news article to a teacher I work with and I felt so…numb. Yesterday, our school had a lock down of our own for a few minutes. It was a bit scary, mostly because we had no idea what was going on. It didn’t end dangerously for anyone, though I’m still not sure what exactly happened. I remember wondering, first and foremost, whether my students were safe. I haven’t even known them that long, but I wanted to go out and find them all. But as I was thinking about that today, as I read the article about the school in Connecticut, I wondered what that would feel like to stand in a classroom and have your students around you. How do you protect them? I know there are drills for that. They have plans in place to protect students and faculty, but in that moment when you are looking at someone who holds the lives of your students and yourself in their hands? What do you do?
I’ve asked myself morbid questions today, I won’t go into them now. But it made me think of my future, my family, and those I love who may or may not love me back, for those I want to have in my life (now and forever), and it made me reflect on how short life is. It made me want to be….something more. I didn’t think that the shooting would have an impact on me. I didn’t think having a lock down on my campus would have an impact on me, but I think they are. I still want to teach. I still want to be in a classroom working with young people. My goal has not changed, but my resolve to pray for safety and guidance in my classroom each day has been renewed and I hope that I will never have to live through an event like this. It should never have happened and my heart truly breaks for the families of those who were lost.
I want to take a minute here and say something about who I am or maybe who I am not. I mentioned just above, that I want to be something more. I don’t know what that means right now. I know who I am right now in the moment, but that person is in a transition. I know who other people sometimes think I am, but I don’t know who I am going to be. It would be impossible for me to live through this year without changing, growing, and (hopefully) emerging from this refiner’s fire a better person. I have been told many times over the last few weeks that I am a strong woman. That I am so, so strong. But it is strange to hear those words when I frequently feel like I am fragile. I am strong because people expect me to be strong, I don’t always feel strong. Today, tonight? I don’t feel that strong. I feel vulnerable. I feel confused and hopeful, but…yeah, fragile. Like some cracked piece of porcelain. I honestly believe that I am not doing this alone. The strength I have been drawing on, is not mine alone.
A friend of mine commented on the background I have for my laptop, that they thought about my faith and how it must really be a comfort to me right now. And, honestly, it has been. It has helped me get through some pretty dark moments. It helps me stay hopeful in many ways, and which way my heart is looking varies from day to day. That and the love of friends I have made recently and the love of my family. I am still searching for the guidance that will lead me forward but for now, I think it is just time to enjoy where I am in the journey.
Now that this post has become increasingly more revealing that I originally intended, I’ll end with this: Christmas is coming up and I am looking forward to being with my family and enjoying time with them, enjoying the moments I know are mine to keep rather than the ones I hoped would be mine to cherish. And who knows, maybe the lyrics sung weeks ago will ring true. “When my heart finds Christmas, I hope it finds you too.” As Johnny says to Ponyboy in The Outsiders, “stay gold.”