Mother. Of. Mercy.
Look, I love my job. I LOVE IT. I love my life. AN ABSURD AMOUNT. So much do I love these things, evidently, that I need to yell at you about it. But this month. This month has been insanity incarnate. This month, I moved one of my dear friends home to Dallas, started going on dates with said dear friend (henceforth known as The Bear), started my job up again after a delightful break, said goodbye to another dear friend after a (I think) very amiable breakup, and completed the single most exhausting and magnificent week of my entire life. All in weather that, frankly, is foreign and wretched to me.
Now, I like lots of things about the winter. I like snow. I like snowmen. I like sledding and fireplaces and cocoa and icicles. I DISLIKE having to get out of bed in the winter. I dislike showers in the winter. My hair takes two hours to dry when it’s hot outside! So, when I get out of the shower in the winter, I shiver steadily for a length of time that is probably not as long as it feels (a small eternity, I assure you) and can thus only be described as FAR TOO LONG. This leads me to (don’t judge me!) avoid showers. I am hygienic, don’t worry, but I do tend to take wash-cloth washings as long as I can postpone actually having to take a full-blown shower. All of this is to tell you how very VERY much I dislike discomfort. I avoid it.
When it becomes necessary for me to be uncomfortable for the sake of others, I do not hesitate. That brings me to this past week. This was my school’s Science Week. In which falls Science Day. Now, this is my first year, so this is my apprentice Science Week and Science Day, so expect a similar post (but with more complaining) this time, next year.
Science Week begins with the arrival of our district’s mobile planetarium to my school. No big deal, it comes in four big black boxes and one GIANT, overstuffed canvas bag. Except, it came early. In the middle of class. Now, I’m not big on running my class exactly to schedule. I am not organized. (Note strange length of times between posts and nod knowingly.) But this past month has been Planned. Really well. And I have been excited. And, look, it’s been a little overwhelming. I bit off a little more than I could chew. But I was going to make it! On schedule! And then, the planetarium showed up early. I had no place for it! I had a class I was teaching! Okay, fine. No big deal. Just put it in the front of the room. We’ll work around it.
Then The Week itself actually began. Friends, I thought I knew chaos. I thought I knew exhaustion. I did not. Monday was fine. Tiring, but do-able. I spent the day slightly disoriented by the darkness in the planetarium, but ultimately enjoying the story-telling involved with teaching the Greek myths of the common constellations. By the end of the day, I needed to go to bed early, but I felt good. Accomplished. Then, I remembered that I had to stay late to make sure the science fair entrants got their projects in on time. Only til six. No big deal. I made it to six without wanting to jump off a cliff, but not by much. What got me through that exhausting three-hour wait was the brilliant idea of telling each and every of our 70 participants how hard our assistant principal (a dead ringer for Fix-It Felix) had worked on that fair. He had spent long, hard hours preparing and I wanted us to do something special for him. His “thing” is wearing bowties. So, I told them, we must all wear bowties tomorrow. Be little Fix-It Felixes! (Yes, I’m calling him that, now.) They loved it.
The next day, we all showed up, bowties on, to face the day. Now, friends, I knew this would be a long one. But I did not expect 14 hours straight, not sitting down for more than five minutes at a time EVER (and that was only once!), and finding that once you get beyond the part of exhaustion where all you want in this whole world is to scream and cry until you pass out, there is another version of you who knows no tiredness and cannot find a way to relax, even after the work is done. But, through it all, Fix-It Felix and I smiled, congratulated, and watched those little mad scientists show off their work. And, my friends, I have never seen something that filled me with such pride. And, after the science fair, at our Family Science Night (a night where the science museum brings out their planetaria and exhibits and a couple of demonstrations and turn your school into a free mini-museum), I watched those same little mad scientists gape in awe at the things they still had to learn. And there I found my strength. Yes, I collapsed in exhaustion into my bed as soon as the evening was over. Yes, I cried a little when I had to get up the next morning and face a full day of awards ceremonies and teaching and youth ministry. Yes, I am STILL tired from the experience. But those kids are worth it. Those 70 brilliant little minds, so proud of the work they put into their egg-vacuums and tornado-bottles and bio-gas and hover-boards make me absolutely certain I would do it again tomorrow if they asked me.
And I’d love every second.