Ever since I was diagnosed, it’s been hard, to the point of painful, to listen to Rachel Platten’s Fight Song.
Fight Song was my anthem this summer. I knew I wanted to go back into the classroom, but I wasn’t sure I could get hired since it was July, nearly August, when I really made up my mind. I’d spent a week at the AVID Summer Institute, and as I sat in my strand and in the general sessions, I knew. I needed to be back on a campus doing what I’m called to do. But, it was such a huge step. A huge, scary step. I’d take a pay cut. I’d be the new kid on the block. I knew in my heart what I wanted to do, but my brain needed convincing. It took a funeral to do it.
The longtime pastor of my childhood church passed away while I was at the AVID conference. His funeral was one afternoon after sessions ended, and I felt I needed to go to the funeral. He was a huge influence in my life, and I felt I needed to go to his funeral and honor him. So, I did.
So many of the teenage youth group I’d been a part of came to the funeral. Afterwards, we gathered together at the back of the church and talked with our former youth minister. We were all brought together because of the influence of our childhood pastor. As we stood and talked about what we did in our lives, as I explained what I did, when I finished, I blurted out, “But, I miss teaching.” And one of my old friends said, “So, go back to the classroom.”
It sounded so easy. So reasonable. I’m a good teacher. I knew that. But, would anyone have any openings that late into the summer? Would anyone want to hire me? Would A be ok with me going back into the classroom, taking a pay cut, and living with mounds of papers needing to get graded? When I asked, A rolled his eyes and told me he’d known for months that I wanted to go back to teaching, and if teaching was what I wanted, I needed to find a job. With his blessing in place, I sat down at my computer to went to a district’s website to search for English teacher openings. While I searched, I turned the radio on, and Fight Song was on. I felt like that small boat in the ocean. I knew sending out feelers and applications was going to create some waves, but I was ok with it because I knew I was doing the right things. I often say I doubt myself and second guess my decisions, which is usually true. The one decision I have never questioned was my decision to go back into the classroom.
Luckily, some schools were interested in me, set up interviews with me, and one offered me the job of my dreams. I said yes, immediately. Two days later I had a new contract in my hand, and three days later, I started decorating my classroom. I was so happy to be where I was and doing what I was. And, I still am. But, when I was diagnosed, I lost some of my happy. And, I couldn’t listen to Fight Song. I just couldn’t. For me, it was associated with an incredibly happy, life changing moment. I didn’t want it associated with an incredibly unhappy, life changing moment for me. It’s taken me months to be where I can listen to it and not change stations or hit skip on my iTunes.
I made a new playlist this weekend, and I purposely put Fight Song and Clarkson’s Stronger on it. I need to hear them now. I don’t know why, but I believe I need to hear them. So, on this playlist, they’ll stay, even when I don’t want to hear them.