Good morning, glories!
I am afraid I have been AWOL for a few days. My head is swirling with post ideas but finding the time to sit down and write is not always easy. I sometimes think to myself “Does anyone care if I write or not anyway?” but the answer is I CARE! I need to write for myself, first and foremost. I really don’t have any grand illusion of my words spanning the online world and bringing profound enlightenment to the masses! So I need to keep my focus…I am writing to help myself through this journey called life and if by some miracle, I can share something that speaks to someone else or helps them on their journey, all the better.
Which brings me to the theme of this post. I had lunch yesterday with a new friend. We probably would never have met if my husband Paul didn’t love to play baseball. So because he joined a team in the El Paso International 50 & Over Baseball Association, I met the lovely wives of some of the Cougar baseball players to include Davette with whom I had lunch on Tuesday. I had been thinking before our lunch date how many people have come into my life over the past 56 years. Some in the form of friends, others simply acquaintances along my way. My library assistant Lorena, my volunteer Susie. Love you, girls. My very best friend since sixth grade, Sharon, who has been with me through thick and thin for 46 crazy years. Love you, Sharonia!!! I will share more about Sharon next week…stay tuned!! And finally the array of assorted husbands…requiring another whole blog post, if not an entire blog of their own.
Through good times and bad, I have always found this statement to be applicable to my life:
People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.
And as I got dressed for lunch yesterday in my Day 12 Work Your Work Wear Challenge outfit, I was thinking of some of those people who have come and gone in my life and the reason or season that brought us together in the first place. My life has played out in so many wide and varied chapters, and although I am the main character throughout the entire story, I have experienced so much and changed in so many ways, worn so many costumes and masks, that I am ever-evolving. When I think of some of my hardest days, there were people who entered my life for a reason, to help me through a particularly difficult time or even just a very dark moment. Living in the Republic of Panama, far removed from everything and everyone I had ever known, I met other Army wives who felt as lost and removed from THE WORLD (the name everyone stationed in Panama gave to BACK HOME) as I did. We held each others hands and got through. But once we returned home, or PCS-ed to a stateside assignment, we lost contact. I tried for awhile to keep up with some of those sweet ladies, but in the days before Internet and social media, when I was as busy as they were raising a family, it was hard to find time to write letters, real letters. But I have never forgotten them…Denise, Claudia, Suni and Julie.
When I moved to El Paso, and my then-husband was stationed at Ft. Bliss, I began working full-time, for the first time since graduating from college with a degree in education ten years earlier. My degree was from the University of Tennessee which meant that I had to take tests in my major and minor areas of study in order to be granted a teaching certificate in Texas. I worked under an emergency certificate in the meantime, having three opportunities to test during that first year of working as a school librarian. If I was unable to pass the tests after three chances I would lose my emergency certificate and my library position. SCARY.
The first test opportunity fell in October. I was terrified to take the tests that quickly and hoped waiting until winter would allow me time to better prepare and review. February came and I found myself legally and physically separated from my husband. I was alone in El Paso raising my two daughters on an extremely tight budget and with even less time to prepare for the tests. I decided to wait for the final opportunity to test in June.
That day in June I felt like the pressure of my whole world was on my shoulders. My world and my daughters’ worlds. I had to take a general education exam on the philosophy of education, current trends in education and even educational scenarios. Because my major was art education, I had to test on art history as well as methods for teaching art. And with my minor in library science I was required to test on the methodology of cataloging books, the history of libraries, developing a school library program. The tests were horrible and because I had been out of school for a decade, I had forgotten much of what I had learned. Trends and educational philosophy had changed. I tested from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. I walked away from the testing center totally uncertain about how I had done and what the future would hold. The results would be mailed to me the first week of August, just days before the new school year began.
The next weeks were so hard. I no longer had a paycheck coming in as I waited for my results so I took a summer school librarian assignment and waited tables at Pizza Hut. One of the people who came into my life at that time was a young high school girl who lived in the same apartment complex. My daughters who were turning 3 and 5 on their birthdays in July, loved Renita. And Renita was my lifesaver. She babysat for me day and night so I could support my babies. Years later, I ran into Renita and thanked her for being in my life for a season. I couldn’t have made it through that summer without her.
Toward the end of July, I began calling the Texas Education Agency (TEA) on an almost daily basis, explaining my situation and pleading to be notified as soon as my tests were scored. “It”s too early to know anything yet” was the response I was given over and over. I knew I was a pest, I knew I was in this mess because I had failed to take the tests during the earlier administrations. It was my fault but now I was desperate to know where my life was headed. Then one day I was blessed to be connected with a compassionate woman on the other end of my call to TEA. She said the tests had been scored but the results were just in the process of being mailed out. I started crying on the phone and explained my situation. She listened and then excused herself for a moment. When she returned to the line, the woman told me she was holding my results in her hand and that she would share them with me but under no circumstances could I tell anyone. She then proceeded to tell me I had passed (BARELY) all three exams. I would be granted a life-time teaching certificate for the state of Texas. My job was secure for the coming school year.
I don’t remember that kind woman’s name. But she came into my life for a reason. She came into my life with compassion and empathy or at least sympathy and understanding. I will never forget her. I hung up the phone and rejoiced with my daughters and then got back on the phone and ordered a dozen red roses to be sent to the attention of this sweet angel at TEA.
All of this to say, thank you Davette for having lunch with me yesterday. Your words resonated with me and I hear them again this morning. I need to always keep sight of myself on my journey and be confident and strong along my way. Thank you!