Thursday, August 28, 2014

Worth It

I love where I work. It's pretty normal for me to say that because there's never been more than just a few hours at a time, in 15 years, where I thought seriously about working anywhere else.

A great deal of my love comes from the fact that I work with some of the greatest, most caring, most fun people ever. I issued the ALS ice bucket challenge to them, knowing full well that they wouldn't let me down. And they didn't.

No matter who leaves or who stays or who arrives, the spirit is there, the kindness present, the love unwavering. I think it's in the brick and mortar. 

But it's one thing to love your co-workers and another thing to love your work. Where I work, things are rarely easy. We fight battles we didn't sign up for. We feed them breakfast and lunch, but it's their soul that sometimes starves. We are someone for a few, and everyone for too many.

It has been 4 days since the start of a new school year. It has been 4 days since I rested well. It has been 4 days since I began seeing 5:30 twice a day. It has been 4 days since I didn't bring home a worry that I turned over and over and rubbed, worn, in my mind. It has been 4 days, and I'm as tired as if it had been 14.

And then, today, this kid came by my room. I can tell you with full confidence that his deodorant application in class was the very least of our problems last year. I worked with him for a full 4 months before he trusted me. And another 5 months, convincing him that I wasn't lying when I said he was smart or tricking him by promising that "today is a new day". We had as many tears as we had laughs and as many failures and breakdowns as successes. Probably far more. His swings between liking me and hating me were rapid and unpredictable and intense. I never knew where I stood with him because I was always waiting for the bottom to drop out.

This was our conversation today as I stood at my doorway, passing out index cards for our warm-up.

Me: Hey, dude! How are you?
Him: Okay, I guess. Can I have a card?
Me: Only if you write on there, "I miss Coach Naz."
Him: I will. Because it's true.

Then he walked away.

And it was worth it, y'all. It was so very worth it all.

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