It has been some time since I’ve seen a string of dawnings like those we’ve had this week. Every morning has seen significant patterns of light and shadow among the low clouds of the eastern sky. This morning as well unfolded with streaks of rose just above the horizon and hints of pink blushing the edges of higher clouds. What delight it has been to drive in to work with that sort of peaceful beauty coaxing me into another good day.
It has also been quite some time since I’ve seen such a string of little “brush fires” at work! In fact, I’m pretty sure I’d have to go clear back to the Nineties when I was principal at Scott County Alternative School. It’s not a matter of declining energy or dwindling patience; every day this week has brought forth at least two incidents of significance that attempted to devour chunks of time and hunks of energy.
And yet, I have gone home each night with a genuine sense of satisfaction and genuine gratitude for having this job, at this place, with these people.
Yesterday afternoon, we had an employee recognition event to celebrate designated milestones for years of service, to grant a key award and to commemorate a retirement after twenty-five years of service. For each person marking the miles of ten, fifteen and twenty years, as well as the major award, colleagues made short speeches about their time together. It was so apparent that these people do not just sincerely care for one another, they genuinely love each other. The joking, the comments, the anecdotes, stories and personal observations all conveyed that. People also spoke of others’ faith, convictions and dedication to beliefs.
I will not claim that this is Paradise, Lost or Found. I will not claim that we have discovered Shangri-La or created our own little Utopia. Of course there are conflicts, disputes and probably three or eight people in the bunch that don’t really like each other. But I do affirm that this is a place that believes it is possible to manifest the ideals of academia, attend to business and still love one another.
Any place where people will be willing to do that, to be patient and kind, compassionate and forgiving, considerate and appreciative, is a place that can be a fantastic place to live and work. It will not be Heaven, but it will be a good place to be together on our way there.