St. Roman was supposed to have our Christmas concert on Friday, but we got walloped with 15 inches of snow during the night! So no school for us...begin our Christmas break a day early! I was pretty wiped...so I stayed in my PJs all day (and shoveled), loafed (and shoveled), opened up my presents from school (and shoveled), and worked on a few projects (oh...and I did some shoveling). It was nice. Yesterday, we got oh depending 3-5 more inches...and this was light, fluffy, but make the roads icky snow. Today... -4 degrees with a -30 windchill! Translation for those of you where the sun shines always: THAT IS REALLY REALLY COLD.
4th Sunday! This is it folks...our Advent journey is almost complete. I can't very well, write about the last three and skip the 4th. Plus, being cooped up in the house, I took the opportunity to play with my replacement camera (replacing the one that was stolen out of my suitcase) and took some neat photos. For me they are familiar signs that our preparation is almost complete and JOY and NEW LIFE are right around the corner.
My 4th experience of community during this week of Advent was with my staff. The week before Christmas break in a school is so exhausting. Kids are checked out and crazy, staff is worn out, Christmas concert preparation, etc...let's say we are all ready for break when it arrives. On Thursday (not knowing for sure that we'd be off the next day), we had our little staff Christmas gathering after school. It was lovely...nice conversation, low key, yummies...I stepped back and observed for a while and thought...wow! The energy was so positive and cheerful, despite the tiredness of the days before. It was a delightful time and people seemed to enjoy it. That's a happy!
Transition is a hard thing in general; I've come to appreciate the perspective of a leadership transition for a staff/school. I work with gifted professionals who have been successful teachers, at St. Roman for 30+ years. They've had principals/pastors/colleagues come and go...philosophy changes, transition...transition...transition. I work with gifted educators who are relatively new (myself included!) to the field and have an energy and enthusiasm for the possibilities. For myself, I have a good knowledge base and clear directions in which I'd like to see education (universally) go. Put all of this into a big pot and mix it up and then empty it...and then ask people to find what was theirs. Um yeah...it's a journey (ACK...that's one of those formationy words that I swore would never come out of my mouth! HELP!).
Stepping back and "observing" has been one of my processes as I transitioned into this new school. That's not easy for me; I'm a watch you for 2 minutes to see how you do it, jump in and do it, and adapt/learn as necessary person. Stepping back and observing...sometimes makes the journey seem a bit tedious at times, but the relationships that form are worth it. I stepped back and observed for a few minutes at our party and it hit me. We've come very far since we began our journey together in August. Relationships have formed as a staff . The spirit in our school is lively and supportive. People seem to be free to share ideas and weigh in with an alternative perspective. We can enjoy each other's company, outside of "shop talk".
I used to think (although a lover of Advent as a kiddo) that Christmas was this burst of JOY and EXCITEMENT...that it all started with that day. In light of my 4th week of Advent experience, I realize that unless the journey happened, the JOY and NEW LIFE could not be the end result.
Oh geeze...now that I type that...I think--"Great, Kate...that's one of those insights that has multiple meanings." I know this entry will come back to bite me sometime; another Spit in your Soup moment courtesy of the Fun Nun.
I found this simple poem written by one of my nuns, Sr. Irene Zimmerman, in her book Incarnation, which spoke to me this morning in my prayer time:
That once-in-a-world-time night
even the stars, otherwise
so distant in their ancient skies,
came to adore the in-the-beginning Light.
May the "blessings" (yes, even those ones that don't seem like blessings...and don't I know that!) be with you as the JOY and NEW LIFE of Christmas emerge. Cha, cha, cha.
(It's like the birthday song...all this seriousness, needs a "cha cha cha" once in a while.)