Sunday, January 13, 2008

Ozymandias and Me

When they come to the end of their life, how many people can claim to have done something really lasting? How many feel that they have left an indelible mark on this world? Have you ever read the poem, “Ozymandias”?

"Ozymandias of Egypt,"
by Percy Bysshe Shelley

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Even those who think themselves to be of great importance end up being forgotten and even inconsequential, lost quite literally as Ozymandias was in the sands of time.

Have you made an impact? A lasting one?

What have I done?

I’ve worked with children and teens for years. Since I was in high school I’ve been hard at work on younger generations through teaching, discipleship groups, Bible studies, counseling, directing plays, and a myriad of other ways. The writer Nikos Kazantzakis said, “Teachers are those who use themselves as bridges, over which they invite their students to cross; then having facilitated their crossing, joyfully callapse, encouraging them to create bridges of their own.” Could this be said of me? Would any of the people that I have so fervently poured myself into see me as a bridge or a building block for what they have become or what they aspire to be? Kazantzakis's quote can relate to any person who imparts knowledge: parents, writers, coaches, pastors, etc. I would have to say that I have often seen myself in this way, and I hope that others would be able to say the same thing of me.

I certainly don't want to be like Ozymandias.

Just something I've been thinking of as of late since returning to work....

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Oh, the Variety!

I am much enjoying my new job. I love doing different things every day and gaining experience in areas where I am not accustomed to teaching. It’s exciting to be mobile and flexible, and I’m ready to take on new challenges. This week on the agenda I have answering phones and teaching 7th and 8th grade math, 6th grade science, and 7th grade art. I was supposed to teach computer, which my husband found to be very amusing, but I have a meeting I have to attend instead. Being a computer tech, he knows how lacking I am in that department. I can only do basic stuff, but I can follow other’s lesson plans very well, so I don’t think it would have been a problem. Next week, I’ll be teaching English, which is normal for me, but I’ll be teaching 8th graders. For nine years I taught nothing but 7th grade English. In addition to the English, I’ll also be teaching 7th grade science and 8th grade history. Starting at the end of this month, I’ll be teaching 7th grade Bible for a month as our regular teacher has been invited to preach in Scotland for that time! By the time this semester has wrapped, I should have experience in just about every classroom in the middle school. How cool is that!?!

In addition to the variety of tasks and the basic fact that I still have a job and am bringing in much needed income, I can’t think of four other great perks to this new position. (1) I will get to know every student in the middle school. (2) I am getting more opportunities to engage with my colleagues and get to know them on a more personal level. (3) No lesson planning. (4) No essays to grade. After the difficult year I suffered last year, I am confidant that I will end this one in a positive manner.

Leaving Willow Grace on Monday was excruciating! I really thought that I was going to be able to be strong and not shed a tear, and I just absolutely failed at that! Returning to her in the afternoon is like receiving a great reward for a job well done. I think about her all day and gaze at the pictures of her scrolling across the screen of my laptop when I have a chance. As the week has progressed, it has become easier to leave. For the last two days, Chris has been able to stay with her, and I love that they are getting some daddy-daughter time. I think that’s so important for their bonding. I will always miss her, but it will be in less overtly emotional ways. In a couple weeks, I have a three-day weekend coming up, and I just can’t wait to have that extra time with her. And, of course, spring break just can’t come fast enough!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

It's Over!

Well, here we finally are. Tomorrow is my first day back to work after my maternity leave. I can't believe that it's gone by so fast. While I am looking forward to being a little more a part of the outside world again, I really would rather just stay with my precious little Willow. But that is just not possible right now. I do have a great set up at work, so I won't have to be away from her as much as a lot of other mothers have to be away from their children. I just never would have thought that I would want to be a stay-at-home-mom. I always pictured myself as the working mother, and that's what I will be but with some trepidation. Chris's mom, Donitta, asked my mom if she was going to have the tissues and smelling salts ready when I dropped Willow off. I have a constant pep talk going in my head right now. "You will be strong. You will not cry. It's only for a few hours, and she's going to be safe and happy with Mom." I'll let you know if it works.

To make matter a tad more difficult, Chris will be on a business trip this week. I had really hoped that he would be home for a couple days while I returned to work, making the transition a bit easier for me. However, we're just going to dive right into the deep end of the pool... in the middle of winter. He leaves today, in just a few hours.

Last night was a really special night for us. Our families joined us at our church, Fellowship Bible Church, and we had both Willow Grace dedicated and Chris baptized. It was such a warm, precious night for us. Well, it could have been warmer for Chris. The water in the baptismal fount was apparently quite frigid. Each person who stepped into the water had a look of shock and sat their shivering while the pastor asked them a couple questions. Anyway, it was a blessing to have our families there. Afterwards, Chris's parents opened up their home for both of our families to gather for a little food and fellowship. The evening simple could not have gone better. Intestingly enough it didn't start off that way since we forgot Willow's burp cloths and Chris's clothes for the baptism, but somehow everything just came together and has now left us with the fondest of memories. I wish that I had pictures to share with you, but I forgot my camera and need to get copies from my sister's. I am so thankful that she brought her camera and that Matt, her husband, filmed the whole thing. Thanks Matt and Eva!

I hope that your new year has gotten off to a peaceful start. By the way, if you haven't seen it yet. Check this out:
It's the same commercial you may have seen on TV during the holidays but has four different shots of Willow Grace.

Happy New Year!