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Now in New Orleans

February 9, 2014
Look, I'm even phased in kindergarten.

Look, I’m even phased in kindergarten. I exited the womb worrying.

Sunday night rolls around in the Big Easy. And by rolls around I mean it jumps in my face like a zombie in a bad haunted house. Making plans, grading papers, doing grad school readings so long that early morning became afternoon became dark outside became now in New Orleans, which is WAY different than a Big Easy Sunday.

I have a tendency to complain. Maybe I observe and describe too much, or just talk too much, and I run out of positive things to say. Maybe I am trying to get attention. Pity? Affection? Maybe this teaching thing that I’m doing with my life has filled me all the way up to the top that stress and negativity just comes bubbling out of me. Whatever it is, it ain’t pretty.

I have this student who has been in and out of the hospital all year. He’s a fantastic kid. Deep thinker. Very reflective, thoughtful. He has been having seizures and passing out and then they discovered heart issues and all sorts of stuff. For the longest he didn’t know what was wrong with him, and then one morning he comes to me and says he needs to speak with me in the hall before class starts. He has brain cancer. Doctors had just told him the day before. We talked about his plan and his faith and his desire to fight for his life because he believed God’s plan for him was to help people, so of course he was going to live.

And we both got teary eyed and hugged and then went back inside the classroom and I pretended to be fine and have class. Because those are the sorts of things that happen as a teacher. No time to process because there’s always another kid with a million problems like a fussy grandmother who spends the family’s food money gambling and no one’s eaten all weekend and you pass her your granola bar you brought for lunch and class still goes on.

Anyway, the next day, he tells me the doctors had called and told him they had accidentally given him someone else’s diagnosis. It was some other guy’s cancer. They made a mistake. Moving forward. But this kid didn’t let the entire thing phase him. His attitude was so positive he didn’t miss a step. It was inspiring. And mind blowing. I get phased by, oh, EVERYTHING. It’s exhausting.

My friend Daniel told me one time that he doesn’t experience stress. It doesn’t occur to him. I want to try that.

Starting tomorrow.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 10, 2014 12:21 am

    Gosh, that is a scary diagnosis, and that kid just went with it. It is good to hear the perspective from a teacher who just trucks through it all. Because I wonder about people who can just encounter things like that and keep on going. I am sure that when you face the daily stresses it can wear you down…but sometimes things can be going great and you are still exhausted because your brain won’t give it a rest. I am easily shaken up by little things too. Horror movies, people looking at me cross eyed, the nightly news, cold weather… But yoga helps, and climbing mountains.

  2. Betty permalink
    February 10, 2014 10:55 am

    So glad to be hearing from you again! I missed you and thought about you and what you were up to … I worried… too….

  3. February 11, 2014 6:12 am

    Oooh what a sweet picture of you. I looked at it for so long before I even read your post. And then BAM! What a tough diagnosis…only to find out it was wrong. omg!!! Thank God for that but so sorry for someone else 😦
    And this is so true: No time to process because there’s always another kid with a million problems…
    Teachers hop from one tragedy to the next. Being there for kids, being strong for them… and then left to process on their own…usually while slammed with planning, grading, administrative pressure, etc.
    As for not experiencing stress…did you start that? How’s that going for you?

  4. February 11, 2014 9:31 am

    so glad you are back! –wow– this is just what I needed this morning! It is such a challenge to stay in the present moment…..thanks for the reminder that this is all we really have!
    –Congratulations on the new home! —

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