Usefulness Trumps Resentment


REDUNDANT (adjective): no longer needed or useful

I have already expressed my frustrations of feeling overwhelmed and hopeless at my new school. It has undoubtedly become my most challenging teaching position of my career and the most challenging adjustment of moving back to America. However, that has made the “small victories” that occur throughout the day not small at all.

This past Tuesday was “Teacher Appreciation Day.” It was a nice break from the mundane to have fruit and donuts delivered to my classroom along with a personalized card from my principal. It was definitely a highlight of the semester.

Then came Wednesday.

The ACT Word of the Day that was announced over the PA during morning announcements was “redundant.” More on that later.

My day started with an academy meeting where we talked about the end of the year expectations and about summer planning times. It was one of our last meetings of the year and the anticipation and excitement was palpable.

Following the meeting I was called into the principal’s office.

She informed me that due to budget cuts my position would not be retained for the following year. I sat in silent disbelief for several minutes. It was a very tough pill to swallow. Questions swirled around like a hurricane in my brain.

Why is this happening? Am I not a good teacher? Is it really budget cuts or do they not want me around? What do I do now?

I came back to my classroom processing the news. I calmly sat down at my desk and uttered something that came out naturally yet almost surprised me when I said it.

“Thy will be done.”

I’ve been uttering this phrase almost every day for the past 4 months. This is the first time I have said it in the midst of a crisis. Instead of isolating, feeling sorry for myself, trying to control or manipulate the situation, rage, blame others, act out or any other toxic decision that I would do in the past – I surrendered.

This phrase summed up the last few months of working the first three steps. This was recovery in action. A part of me wants to say that I am proud of myself for staying sober and reacting the way I need to react. I am really just grateful to be in a program that works. I am proud to be called a recovering addict (emphasis on recovering). I am so happy so see where my recovery has taken me. In the midst of this storm of uncertainty, I know that God is here.

Later that day I went to a meeting. Normally when I walk in, the materials are out and someone has volunteered to chair the meeting. There were a few guys sitting in the circle but the materials necessary to begin the meeting were still in the closet. I did not even hesitate as I fetched the literature and I chaired my second meeting ever.

This also was an important step for me. Instead of coming to a meeting to get something from others I chose to serve. On a day where my job was officially made redundant and I felt as useless as one can feel, I chose to find a way to be useful to others. What a change in attitude from a year ago!

What a testament to my recovery.



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