Thursday, August 19, 2010

Letter From a Friend

Life is difficult, but therein lies the reward. As I have faced confusion and anger with all their clumbsy arms and legs as I deal with losing my job, joy has also made an appearance. Friendship. A dear friend helped me out today and reminded me of Emerson's words: For every friend whom he loses for truth, he gains a better.

The letter that follows arrived today:

In essence, Andy, there are five separate issues facing you concurrently (listed below). I think your sanity and salvation will be to effectively keep these overlapping issues separate both in solving them and in your emotional reaction to them. Please do not interpret this to mean that any one of the five is unimportant or not valid; rather, by lessening the burden of holding all five at once, there is a better chance that these heavy-duty concerns will not consume you.

Remember, my analogy is that this situation is similar to having been jabbed with a giant sliver. The wound is festering, infected, nasty. Your job is to honor the pain while figuring out how to extract that sliver. It is okay to say it hurts, it is okay to say that it is unfair that you have this sliver, and it is okay to ask why me.

The issues, as I see them, are:

1. The grief and loss associated with your journey from the classroom through the board of education to unemployment.
2. The feelings of isolation you are experiencing because so few step up to ask how you are or to help you.
3. The overarching social injustice angle, that it seems to be okay that the Board of Education and the Union treat educators as expendable pawns.
4. The aggravation and fear associated with trying to find a job in a career/system that may no longer be the right place in which to work.
5. The aggravation and fear associated with trying to find a job outside the education system when you have no clear path.

I truly believe, my friend, that if you hold all five of these things as one, you will go nuts. Your health depends on your ability to examine and address each of these issues separately; each isue will require non-overlapping and nuanced thinking, networking, and response. But it will take time.

You will get through this. I have faith in you, your talents, your humanity, your resilience.

What I realized as I read this is that to walk the path we talk about in our lives is hard. Life is a complex web of situations, emotions, and thoughts - but friendship holds up a mirror of recognition that gets us through. Again, this wonderful letter's clarity reminds me of Emerson:

Our life is an apprenticeship to the truth
that around every circle another can be drawn;
that there is no end in nature,
but every end is a beginning;
that there is always another dawn risen on mid-noon
and under every deep a lower deep opens.

It is so good to have good friends. The truth that Emerson speaks to is literally the acceptance that nothing is secure. We are perpetually in transition. What gratitude I have!

No comments:

Post a Comment