This is to be a celebratory post, the end of 31 straight day of writing!!
However, on March 15th, that celebration was muted and our lives changed, changed forever by something that is not alive, or at least in the sense that we think of living things to be.
In that moment of change for us, it had been felt by millions and millions of people around the world already. China, Italy, Spain, France, and so many other counties who underestimated the quickness of transmission and the fact carriers are asymptomatic for many days.
Our country spent a while in this boat, and only today do I feel like our top political officials are finally taking this seriously. I feel like many in the medical community have been sounding that alarm for a while. This dampens the celebration of this final post.
Our students have been in limbo since March 15th with us unable first to even connect with them, then unable to assign or correct work turned in after March 13th. There are many things Iowans take seriously and having students on a level playing field is one of them. So we’ve been in limbo, working on various pieces of professional development (mindfulness and self-care for me), finally “meeting” our kids online, and maybe getting into the online school game. All of this is weighing heavily on everyone, muting the celebration, turning it gray and pale in the sunlight.
However, you start looking around and you see things that give you hope. Our county has rallied around our older population, offering to get groceries, medications, anything they might need. I spent time helping to get technology set up so they could connect with their faith groups on Sundays and others during the week. Teachers have connected with students and parents in all manners: by text, by phone, by computer, by video chats, and more I’m sure I’ve not heard of before. This makes the celebration become more real, more vibrant, more full of life.
Across the country, these good deeds have been noted again and again. Birthday parades for the young and old, instances of people going out of their way to help others, companies giving employees the things they need to survive this time, musicians giving concerts online or in their homes, looking to help those in need. The celebration becomes more colorful, more joyful.
And personally, in 1997, we bought our first home in Boonville, Missouri. It was a small brick house, with part of the originally brickwork open on the inside. As we went through the abstract, the plot it was originally located on was sold for cash and slaves. It was an amazing little place and will always hold a special place in our heart. That house helped us buy our home up here, and that home helped us buy our little piece of heaven in the country. That 1997 mortgage was a 30 year mortgage, set to be paid off in 2027. As of today, we are mortgage-free, a full seven years ahead of schedule.
The celebration becomes a bonfire of light, illuminating the darkness around us.
I leave you with this quote from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (yes, I’m a nerd).
This was said right before the final battle where Poe is trying to rally the troops, becoming the leader we knew he already was:
The First Order wins by making us think we’re alone. We’re not alone. Good people will fight if we lead them.
The writing is the truth and we need to continue to write the truth. We are not alone in this and people will rally if we lead them. Be the leader with your words, your actions, your true soul. Celebrate your words, your truths, and the work put into making those truths a reality.
Be that change.
Now, let’s celebrate!
March 31, 2020 at 9:44 pm
I see your Star Wars quote & raise you a Harry Potter quote:
“Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”
You’re right. Darkness is lurking in our news, in our classroom, in our communities. It seems like every day there’s more of it surrounding us.
We’re remembering to turn on the light. We’re helping each other whether it be getting groceries, Zoom meetings with co-workers, handwriting letters to send to our kids. These exude happiness & gives us hope. Stay healthy and safe, friend.
March 31, 2020 at 9:51 pm
Another favorite quote of mine. Ah, it is so true to, we see those turning on the light, and the world is better because of it.
I hope you have a great rest of your school in whatever fashion that looks like. Your students are lucky to have you as a teacher!
And stay healthy and safe, my friend. 🙂
March 31, 2020 at 9:53 pm
You voiced much of what I have been trying to wrap my head around for the last several weeks. Yes, this is really, really hard. I miss my other life, and teaching, and my kids, and my colleagues horribly. I’m looking forward to next week when we start remote learning and I will get to be in touch with ALL of my kids, not just those who choose to answer my emails. And yet, at the same time, much goodness has come. People have stepped up and cared for and loved each other. And perhaps that is what matters the most!
Congratulations on paying off your mortgage! That’s pretty darn amazing!!!!
March 31, 2020 at 9:55 pm
I love this post, Darin! You have helped us end the month on a positive note. I know that I try to consciously step away from the news and my anxiety at least once a day and focus on what is good, and what I can do, instead of what is frightening and changing. You’ve reminded me a lot of good things to add to my list! Good luck with the online teaching! Oregon followed exactly the same pattern as Iowa, for the same reasons – concerns about equity and equal access. In the middle of our meeting today about moving to the ability of teachers to connect with students, but not assign or grade work after March 13 (sound familiar?), the state changed position and indicated that schools will probably be closed until summer, and we WILL be assigning and grading and fully teaching online. This year has certainly been keeping all of the teachers on their toes!
March 31, 2020 at 10:06 pm
You encapsulated this month perfectly! And a huge congratulations to you and your wife being mortgage free! 🙂
March 31, 2020 at 11:34 pm
Congratulations Darin! It has been a pleasure reading your posts each evening! I wanted to leave the late night slicers club but Alas! It didn’t work. I’m finishing out late as always. Keep up the positive vibes and encouragement! Stay strong and healthy and I look forward to seeing you on Tuesdays
April 1, 2020 at 1:04 am
You covered much ground in this post. The highs, lows, uncertainty, and goodness that has come about as a result of the virus. I am glad you stuck with it and continued to write each day. I enjoy seeing you around…as you and I have been on the challenge together for a number of years. Keep fighting the good fight and advocating for kids. I hope that things start to ease up for you soon.
April 1, 2020 at 4:08 am
The Star Wars quote holds much power – but this one of yours even more so: “Be the leader with your words, your actions, your true soul.” We must live what we believe – that is the very definition of “believe,” to “live by” what we hold dear. I celebrate along with you the good that I see in spite of – actually, because of – COVID-19. It has brought incalculable loss BUT – in the strange balance of things – inestimable gains. This tiny organism is bringing out the best of humanity, and I believe the better nature, collectively, always triumphs over the Dark Side. I cheer you and your writing on, Darin – your positive energy is your Force, needed now more than ever. Congrats on finishing another SOLSC and paying off the mortgage ahead of time! Celebration, indeed!