“Though times it seems
Like I’m coming undone
This walk can often feel lonely
No matter what until this race is won
I will stand my ground where hope can be found
I will stand my ground where hope can be found”
It is Friday around 5:30PM, the magical time at the end of the week where the world seems to stop to take a breath as people transition from work mode and head into the weekend. The early evening sunlight pours through the windows as I sit and reflect on these past few days. The song “O’Lord” by Lauren Daigle pops into my head, and I realize that there is a reason. One line in particular.
I will stand my ground.
Fear of the unknown has always gripped and consumed me. My active imagination plays out multiple, often unrealistic, “what if” scenarios. Typically, right before a new school year starts, I feel like a young ballerina about to take the stage who is suddenly engulfed
in stage fright; her heart thuds as she pictures the spotlight blaring in her eyes and the immense crowd of people sitting before her. Of course, one minute into the show, her stage fright melts away as she glides effortlessly into pirouettes across the stage. Likewise, once I meet my students and get settled into the year, those nerves float away. But that initial time before school starts when my fear of the unknown is heightened can be stressful and intimidating.
This year, however, I find that the night before school starts, I feel oddly at peace. Thinking about the day ahead does not even incite a flutter of nerves. I feel excited. I feel ready. Usually, my stomach is queasy, and all I can do is tell myself that this time tomorrow the unknown will be known.
I wake up that morning to the smell of coffee (thank you, Brittany) and confidently, yet still sleepily, pour myself a cup. Later, when the homeroom bell rings and students begin to flow down the hallway, I feel confident. The jitters and butterflies that would usually be at an all-time high at this moment seem to have traveled elsewhere.
I stand outside of my classroom door (with my coffee in hand, of course) and animatedly greet my students with “Good morning, good morning, good morning” as they walk into the classroom in groups of twos and threes. The show has begun, and there isn’t the slightest flicker of anxiety.
“Find your schedule and have a seat,” I cheerfully say as they walk in. As of now, they are simply new to me. I can’t match names with faces. I don’t know what their personalities are like. But the show continues to play, and I float across the stage.
I will stand my ground.
Now, as I sit at my dining room table and reflect on the past few days, I realize that the calm I so differently experienced this year was a direct result of the pain and heartache from the break-up that I had previously endured. I had to find new levels of myself, had to reach in and dig deep to overcome the hopelessness that I felt. It is amazing how different areas of your life can be impacted, for the better, because of these emotional hardships.
This, of course, does not mean that for the remainder of time I will dodge feelings of anxiety and stress. That would, clearly, not be realistic. But it is a tiny moment of victory. Today, for me, happiness is going through the storm, finding hope, and standing my ground.