I think this is it.
I think this is the jump, the plunge into the deep-end when I am not sure how to really swim.
I think this is my last semester teaching.
I’m thinking about how I want to let my dean know. I want to tell him in person. I think that will be best. I do want to leave the door open (it’s never wise to burn these kinds of bridges). But I want to leave the door open for a very, very long time. And I may never come back.
To say I am burned out is an understatement. I fit the categories listed here.
After ten years of lesson plans, crazy freeway commutes, head and shoulder and back and foot pain from standing in front of people to lecture, grading without end, headaches once a week, student complaints, and department meetings, I am done.
I am actually overdone. I’m like a Thanksgiving turkey still in the oven long after the party has packed up its purses and jackets and left the room.
If you’ve read any of my writing (all… one of you? Two? My husband and a friend of mine are my only readership at this point), you see this theme over and over and OVER in my blog.
I’m going to stop.
I am going to be at home with my son.
I am going to rest.
I am going to take care of my home.
I am going to cook.
I am going to seek God again.
I am going to write again.
I am going to make music again.
I am going to exercise and take care of my body again.
I am going to bring breathing room into my life.
I am going to pursue that which is life-affirming.
And damn my pursuit of money. Damn it. Crush it. Burn it to the ground like a red flag.
1 Timothy 6:17-19 English Standard Version (ESV)
17 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.
I worship money. Do you hear me? I WORSHIP it. And that’s no lie. It consumes my thoughts. It motivated me to work the crazy hours I worked when I was single. It motivated every single full-time interview I went on. It has been motivating my work now; I went back to class when my son was two months old. I was still recovering from my delivery. I was still realizing I was a mom. And I was teaching. And I was a zombie. And I’ve been a zombie ever since.
Some women have to work while mothers. I had convinced myself I did because I love stuff too much. I love consuming. I am a consmer whore. It is nasty. It is filthy. Maybe this is too strong, but it’s 11:30 at night, my hips are sore, and I just ate a McDonald’s burger (gross, I know) and the rest of my husband’s amazing mash potatoes (random, yes). And I just came from class where my burnout dripped all over, a broken hose, a melted ice cream cone, whatever metaphor you want to use. I let my in-class tutor do most of the work tonight. She taught while I sat and observed. I had typos all over my handouts. I spoke slowly and probably messed up a few words.
I have to grade more papers, more papers, more papers, more CAN YOU JUST GET THE FUCK OFF OF MY DESK ALREADY?
This afternoon, in the midst of my weekly tension headache, I had to listen to my son cry for me in his crib while I finished writing up essay instructions for one of my classes.
There is something deeply wrong about that.
I cried out to God Wednesday afternoon. I stepped into the bathroom, raised my hands, and cried. I prayed for help. I prayed for strength. I prayed for faith and courage. I prayed to be delivered from the love of money. I prayed for my family to adjust to this new change. I prayed for my husband to not feel pressure. I prayed for our impending move, because we will probably no longer be able to afford our house without my teaching income. I prayed for wisdom, for discernment, and for peace.
And it was in that moment that I felt I fully, completely surrendered teaching.
And of course, as soon as I write the above statements, Jason Upton’s song, “Whisper” comes on….
Whisper, whisper, whisper in my ear
Tell me words I thought I’d never hear
Show me, show me, show me what you see
Illuminate what’s right in front of me
What you whisper in my ear
Let it find room in my heart
Like a garden let your words begin to grow
When my faith is prone to fear
Remind me of your love
Remind me that you’ll never let me go
Remind me of your love
This was the song that got me through my pregnancy. This was the song that prepared me for labor. And here I am, about to go through another labor of sorts, having been pregnant with this dream for about five years now, and this song comes on.
I can’t even…
God, you are good. You really are.