I am a passionate person. It is a blessing and a curse: a blessing, because I never worry about whether or not I’m living my passion; a curse, because otherwise I worry A LOT. Worry is my middle name.
I have been teaching for 8 years now. I’ve always taught in pretty “tough” schools with high rates of low-income students and horrendous test scores. A couple of years ago was by far the worst of those years. We were audited by the state. We had 9 people quit throughout the course of the year, 4 of whom were principals. Our students were out of control due to the lack of consistency and structure. I got cussed out every single day. Oh, and I was pregnant.
Anyway, in the midst of this chaos, I took a personal day to replenish my strength. Being pregnant, around midday after crying and feeling sorry for myself all morning, I decided I really needed a roast beef sandwich from Arby’s (which I couldn’t touch with a ten foot pole now). As I approached the window with a tear-stained face, I was greeted by the happiest man I had ever met. He said, “Hey girl, how’s your day goin’?” He looked like he had a coat hanger in his mouth from smiling so much. He started dancing in the window as he handed me my sandwich and I thought, “How is he so much happier than me?”
From that moment, I realized that “living your passion” as Oprah has encouraged us to do, sometimes comes with strife. And worry. And crippling anxiety. I’ve wanted to be a teacher for a long time, and although I love it more than the air I breathe, sometimes it hurts. It hurt when I got cussed out by students I wanted to help. It hurts when I pour my heart into a unit and it flops. It hurts when I don’t have the energy to play with my daughter because I have given and given and given myself all day long to other people’s children.
Living passionately comes at a cost. The rewards are great, but getting there can feel like slip n’ sliding down blacktop. Sometimes we need band-aids for our scrapes and bruises.
I realize, now that I’m in a much better work environment, that the Arby’s employee wasn’t happier than me–he just had better band-aids at the time. Now that a new school year is upon me, I’m collecting bandages because I know all the love I have for my job will also bring some scratches. That’s just the nature of passion–sometimes it hurts.
Photo courtesy of Google Images.