Monday, August 14, 2006

First day of school

This post will be a work in progress, so I'll be adding to it throughout the day (that is the plan at least).

I find it wildly ironic that most of my life has been spent preparing for and then encountering a first day of school. Since the first day of kindergarten to today my years have turned on and been marked by this grand event. Life is so different for me now than at the age of 6 and yet I find myself 22 years later facing the same day.

The first day of school was always one of excitement and dread. I loved school, I loved learning, and the first day was the start of an adventure of sorts. Face it, in childhood summer was great but there was something about school that made us yearn for those days in the classroom. I think the desire of man to discover, to learn, and to know draws us to school, whether we will ever admit it or not. There was also a newness to each year, new teachers, new buildings, new classmates, the excitement of experiencing something that was familiar and yet so different from what you knew. But all that newness came with a big lump in the bottom of your stomach. Would you be able to do the work, would your teacher like you, would your friends like you, and the time-honored fear of all girls . . . . . would your outfit you wore on the first day be cool? Excitement and dread all mixed together to form this great anticipation as the day approached and then finally arrived.

to be continued . . . .

So my first days of school continued on from kindergarten all the way to the last semester of college. There remained those feelings of anticipation, excitement, uneasiness, and even at times dread. But for me the feeling of excitment always outweighed the others. The idea of starting something new, something to be accomplished, something that I would emerge from different in some way, all these ideas made me anticipate the first day of school with more excitement than dread.

And then I began working at a school. Little did I know in those early days of elementary school that for six more years after I finished my own schooling I would be anticipating that same first day of school in my "real life". The funny thing was that while I now experienced the first day of school from an entirely different perspective, it still brought the same feelings of anticipation. What would I accomplish this year, would I get along with the other staff, would the kids respect me and like me, and again would my outfit for the first day of class be just right. But with this reality of being behind the scenes a new anticipation and excitement came. I was a key player in making the school run, my time, my talents, and even my heart were invested in each school year. The first day marked the culmination of a summer's worth of hard work, the beginning of grand plans to both educate our students but to all the more teach them to be children of character. It amazed me that I might anticipate the first day of school even more by being not a student but a player in the education process. For instead of learning, I was here to teach, instead of being served, I was here to do the serving. And it wasn't just my time and my skills that became involved, but my heart was a key investor in this thing I called a job.

to be continued . . . . . .

And so that carried on for five years. The anticipation of the first day building, the excitement as a new school year began overwhelming me. The feeling that my heart was doing exactly what it should be, that this school, this "job" was where God wanted me (because He knows that on my own I never would have choosen it). Each year, anticipating the faces of the students, the impact that my time and my work would have in their lives. Knowing that new friendships and relationships would be built with each new school year. Knowing that something new would be learned and gained as I worked and served.

And yet here I sit on my twenty-fourth first day of school in my life and all that anticipation, all that excitement is gone. Oh there is still the stress and the excitement of getting things ready but my heart just isn't here. It's moved on. To where, I'm not quite sure.

There is a sadness that I feel because for the first "first day" in my life, I didn't wake with anticipation for today, for tomorrow, or for the rest of the school year. Where excitement once built and overflowed, a resolution that my time has passed remains.

I feel like I'm experiencing the passing of a dear friend, mourning the loss of their presence. First days of school have been a part of my life for so long and now I think I'm experiencing my last one.

The end.


Blogger Shelley said...

I used to love the first day of school. I loved getting brand new school supplies, new clothes, etc. Even as an adult going back to school these past 4 years I have been excited for the start of school. I have decided to go back for another year, a sort of in between thing but I'm not looking forward to it. I don't dread it, but I don't look forward to it.

8/14/2006 8:14 PM  
Blogger Amstaff Mom said...

awww, K-T. Sorry it wasn't a good day for you. Cheer up my friend. God has wonderful things in store for you.

I had to wear uniforms from 4th grade - my senior year. So much for the first day of school cool outfit. sigh.

I'm looking forward to my 1st day of the fall semester. two more weeks!

8/14/2006 10:41 PM  
Blogger Tim Rice said...

Katie, I cry with you in your sadness. Sometimes words are inadequate; but I'll be thinking of you and praying that you re-discovered that sense of anticipation in life wherever that might lead you.

8/15/2006 10:54 AM  
Blogger Katie said...

thank you tim, it's one of those good things in the midst of a hard thing, I have a clear answer and I'm happy for that, and I have great memories of good "first days", it's just hard to realize that this chapter is closing and I'm not sure when the next one will open, but I trust that it will in the right time

8/15/2006 10:57 AM  
Blogger Ben said...

Thankfully, there will be other "first days" ... just not at school. ;)

Prayin' for ya. :D

8/17/2006 6:44 PM  

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