46.

Being a professional educator has always

given me the advantage

of being reflective as the years pass by (too quickly). It is possible,

but incredibly difficult

to spend the majority of your days

with children and not constantly be

simultaneously living

in ways that consider the past,

embrace the present,

and look toward the future.

The tiny humans demand that I bring my best self

to the meeting areas

and u-shaped tables

where so much magic happens.

I don’t get up from the floor

in one quick movement

the way I used to. The little people I lean in to

confer with often mark the years with their words:

“You are getting more white hairs, Ms. J.”

If I’d stayed put in the place where I began,

retirement

would be as close

as all their lives are to my heart.

Am I old?

I don’t (really) think so.

I’m in better shape than I have been

thanks to the gift of ‘livabetes’.

My mind is

as

sharp

as

it

has

ever

been.

My heart is full of joy beyond words

and that peace that passes all

understanding.

It is well with my soul.

And. . .

I am half the age my grandmother was upon

her passing.

My time here is not up.

But time is not feeling

infinite.

Am I

making

every moment count?

Am I

living

in a way

that the only words I’ll be desperate to utter when the time for

my

eternal rest

is nigh

are something like,

“Thank you,”

“I love you,”

“I’m so glad I was here!”?

I’ve tried, dear ones. I’ve tried.

Every choice I’ve made doesn’t seem

like the best one

to the people I love.

But everything I’ve done was right

for me.

Perhaps only in the moment.

I’ve self-corrected.

If I have no other stance toward life,

I am a learner.

I am grateful to the Universe

and everything that inhabits it

for being a teacher.

For teaching me.

“There are years that ask questions

and years that answer,”

wrote dear Zora.

The years that do both are harrowing.

Chaos brings out the best

and the worst

in me.

45.

A pandemic. A cross-country move.

A new job. A place to call home.

An abundance. Loss after loss.

The sting of racism.

Again and again and again.

A new job. Again.

Racism. Again.

Abundance. Again.

I’ve had years like this before.

This time

something was different.

I was different.

The past made the present easier to see

clearly.

This too shall pass.

I have a

hope

and

a future.

I have a knowing.

I know how to heal.

Alone.

On land I’ve never traversed.

With my heart wide open.

With gratitude

for it all, but especially the abundance

that allows me to travel

from wells of pain to those of hope

and back again –

renewed,

ready to be present

now and in the future.

46.

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