February 23 is when I first dared speak it. I was at an extra-curricular fair at the high school and connected with a safe sister who teaches there. I knew she would hold my words in confidence while holding me accountable to them. I had spoken them to my husband the day before.
I’ve made the decision to leave Good Shepherd at the end of this school year.
It felt terrifying, yet I knew I was the only one who could make the decision. No one else could do it for me. I needed to use my own voice. Hearing that voice speaking the words aloud stirred a mixture of fear and peace, confidence and uncertainty, joy and sorrow, relief and grief.
There was So. Much. Ambivalence. attached to the decision to end my teaching season.
There were nudges in the direction. I had agreed to two years when I signed on to return to the classroom. This was year four. There were changes going on in my world both internally and externally. There was little margin for the best with all of the good I was doing.
Wrestling with the decision was hard.
It was hard to imagine leaving the students and other teachers whom I dearly loved.
It was hard to imagine finding a replacement for my income.
It was hard to imagine walking by faith and not by sight. It was terrifying, but I knew it was time to step out.
I don’t know what’s next, but I know what’s now.
I penned these words in my journal the weekend I composed a resignation letter. I turned in the letter on Monday morning, and then spoke in person to those I knew needed to hear the words directly from me, not in a memo or through the grapevine. I let them feel their feelings while I felt mine, not rushing through or trying to fix. It was so hard.
Again I wrote,
There are so many feelings inside. So much stirring. With the end of this chapter in sight, I need to be attentive to what is required to attend to the hearts around me and finish well. I am trusting what God has in store for me as good.
Last night was rough when the lights went out and things were still. I began to wrestle with the reality to end my time at Good Shepherd and with adulthood. What about all of the unknowns? Will you be there, God? Of course you will! How can I not trust that you have been and will be?
Holding my decision until an official word from the school office was released was challenging. I longed to write about my version of The End, May’s theme for Red Tent Living, and process on my blog, but the timing wasn’t right. I wanted to honor the timing.
I am glad that I did.
The day that the student intent letter went home with the information that I would not be the classroom teacher in the fall, there were many big feelings from small people, some of whom I had taught for all four years due to the nature of our program. There were feelings from adults, as well.
Today my students found out I am not returning next year. There were lots of feelings and emotions. Next week will be long. I need to trust.
There is much to ponder and process still about how that final week went. It was long. It was good. It was full. It was kind.
It is finished.