And this is how it ends. Five years of team teaching. Four of which were in the same classroom working together side by side. Not many people could work this closely together and still be friends.
We’ve cried together. Laughed together, both at students and at ourselves. Parent-teacher conferences. We’ve cried on the other’s shoulder when it came to parenting our adopted daughters. She’s listened to me as my oldest found her way through dating. Choosing a college. Paying for college. Now she’s listening to me about my son – dating – choosing a college – paying for college.
She’s listened to me about my dreams to write. She’s listened to me a lot.
We no longer had to worry about substitutes. We’ve shared our coffee addictions. Sugar cravings. Lack of sleep.
Our frustration at the standardized testing system. How one size does not fit all in education. We’ve tried different strategies with our more challenging students that we have at the end of the day, the ones who would rather be in P.E.
I’ve marveled at the plan that has unfolded this past year. So many signs that pointed her family moving to Tennessee. Many people would have ignored the signs. Said they were coincidence. But she and her husband saw a bigger plan.
I can relate because I’ve lived apart from my parents for years. This will be new to her.
She is going to be a minister’s wife. I’ve been one for years.
I never cease to be amazed at the people that cross our path, the situations that we face, so that down the road we can show compassion.
When you look back at the winding, bumpy road that you’ve just traveled, you start to see the pattern. In the midst of it, it doesn’t make sense.
What are the chances that a girl from West Virginia would live in Louisiana where she had never visited, and work with a girl who had lived her whole life in Louisiana, only to move to Tennessee where she had never visited?
I’ve watched my friend and coworker handle a stressful situation that has lasted an entire school year. I have to have a plan – my plan. I don’t like when things deviate from my plan. But I’ve watched her handle the twists and turns with grace.
When it became inevitable that she would move, we both resigned ourselves to what was happening. Instead of slumping around and saying why me? Why us? We were thankful for what we’ve had.
We’ve made compromises. We’ve said things like – oh, we were getting bored anyway. Or that last group was too large and too challenging. We don’t think we could have done another year of that.
But we could’ve. We would’ve. And we would’ve enjoyed it. Sometimes we have to tell ourselves things to get us through. This is what is getting us through. My excitement over decorating a new room. Her excitement over teaching in a new state, where everything has fallen into place for a new job for her. Another sign.
I can’t repay her for what an encouragement she has been to me these past five years. The most important thing she’s taught me is you can’t take anything for granted. We can’t walk through life and act like people or situations will always be there. They won’t. We take what we’ve learned, and we’re thankful. We keep our eyes open for the next people that the bigger plan will have enter our lives; we enter theirs.
Both of us could be described as women who play it safe from the outside, but when you dig deeper, we’re both women who take risks. We’re not afraid of the bigger plan. We know it’s scary following the bigger plan, but the risks have rewards. Rewards we’d never have if we played it safe.
Take a risk. Follow the bigger plan, the one that you feel, even if it doesn’t make sense. In your heart, you know it. So, do it.