I started writing this first post Thurs night and was drawing a blank. Then Fri night, while enjoying a concert, it came to me. Exactly what I should write about and what was resonating with me. This has become much longer than I anticipated and I understand if no one reads it all! It goes out to Adam...the king of long blogs!
Recently, the idea of having a voice has really stuck with me. I feel that I do not have a voice right now. Perhaps, it's because I have no voice at my job. Perhaps it's because, while surrounded by community, I have not been intentional about seeking out individual friendships, which provide me with a voice. Perhaps it's because, I have not played music in a few months, which gives me a voice. Perhaps it's because I can not run, which has always been my voice. Perhaps, it's because I have seen people around me with no voice: my children, the homeless, the night custodian, the Spanish-speaking lunch lady, children born into homelessness, abused women and children, those whose spouses leave them, and many of the teachers at my school. Perhaps, it's because I was given a voice today, which made me realize how much I missed it.
I have not been heard at school, but today I was heard at a district reading meeting. We had the opportunity to contribute our ideas on what the essentials are for reading in our district. This is due to the fact that our reading grant is up after this year, which means the district will have to implement a plan and resources for reading without the grant. They came to us, as the reading experts, to brainstorm are thoughts and ideas. I was sharing my ideas with another reading teacher and she was like, that's great, speak up. I was very hesitant. At school, many people do not value my knowlege and are not receptive to what I have to say. My words are used against me. So as a result, except with my kids, I have not been contributing as much. Here, I was acknowledged. The administrator asked me if her bullet point had captured what I was trying to say. Afterwards the administrator came up to me and told me that one of my concerns would for sure happen next year. It was nice to have my expertise in reading and kids be heard.
I love giving my kids a voice. I think my favorite part is when I get a chance to talk to them more about their lives and make a personal connection with them. Many of the 5th grade girls come over to talk to me during lunch recess. Whether it's sharing about their home life, their cultural traditions, their favorite Mexican food, their newest crushes, or the latest Hannah Montana movie, I enjoy my time with them. With the boys, I enjoy hearing them talk about their favorite sports teams and their baseball and soccer involvements and when I could come see them play. I have talked to one boy about my brother, as they both have a Hannah Montanna fetish (and want to marry her one day). This boy told me he could take on my brother for HM and still asks when he can fight my bro. :) He was supposed to give me his sports schedule this fall, so that I could go to one of his baseball games. It didn't happen, but this week he came to me about a baseball camp his grandpa and uncle are running on the east side of Aurora. It's every Saturday for 4 hours until the baseball season begins. I haven't talked about my brother in awhile and he wanted to know if my brother would like to go. How thoughtful! I also value the time that I take after a group to pull one student aside, either to praise them or give them something to work towards. I try not to point out faults about kids around their peers. So many times, I have the rest of the group go, so that I can talk to one student about their behavior. Many times they are lashing out, because that's the way they can get attention. Other times I pull kids aside, just to praise them for how well they are doing and for their marked improvement. Many of them do not receive this kind of praise and are beaming as a result. Sometimes, kids just need to be heard and understood.
Right now, I have had to cut out everything in my life except for Dr.'s appts/taking care of my health and taking care of my job. As a result, I have had to step down from other involvements at church, in professional organizations, with music, and many times with friends. I don't know where I will be next year or what I will be doing. I have thought about doing something completely different, like a 9-5 job, so I am freed up to do the things I love: working with kids, athletics, and music. I feel that music is taking me somewhere, but I'm not sure where right now. I miss singing in harmony with friends. I miss playing in worship. I miss Sweetwine. What a great ministry. 12 voices, one sound. I feel like my new musical voice will soon come to the surface. I'm learning to run again. All through my injuries, I have thought that if I returned to my old running form, I would be able to not only run, but run to my fullest ability. Six years later, someone is hearing me. My physical therapist is up for the challenge of getting me back on my feet. She is in agreement, that changing my form was what tore me apart. I have still not returned to my old running form, despite thinking that I had. She is helping me "relearn" how to run. I'm excited to see where it takes me and the thought of not only running, but running to my full ability brings joy to my heart. This year, I have felt like more of my creativity has come out. I felt like it was because I was more settled in my job and as a result had the time to be more creative. That's why I started this blog. I love writing creatively and haven't since college, other than occasionally writing in my journal. I started this blog in October to do just that. Before my job turned upside down. As a result, it's taken me this long to write. It just so happens that my roommates have started blogs within that time. So now I am joining the blogging community around me. It's great being surrounded by Christians and feeling like you have a commonality, a home, and a community. It's amazing when you are understood. Many times it does not even require you to raise your voice. It may be a song that resonates with you or a knowing glance or a word of wisdom. As the church, we should come together, as we seek to live for an audience of one. I know I am about to find a new voice. A new job. A new church. A new place. A new community. A new sound. A new run. A new hope. A new faith. I hope you always have a voice and yet are always finding a new one.
Whether anyones listening, this is my voice.