I decided this early morning that since it was Friday, and I was just completing my second full week of teaching, and my husband has been in Ecuador for almost a week on a mission trip leaving me alone with our 15 month old son, that I was going to treat myself to an iced mocha before departing for work. It's been a long few weeks. In the past five years, I've forgotten how all-consuming a task teaching can be, especially in the Monett school district which prides itself on maintaining high educational expectations. I think this is a wonderful thing, and one of the reasons I took the job here, but high expectations can sometimes fall very heavily onto the shoulders of teachers who are expected to carry them out. It's not the fault of the school district really, but more the fault of a national education system in serious need of an extreme home makeover. In any case, I was tired, anxious for the weekend, and wanted a cold, chocolaty treat before heading into the trenches.
There's a great little coffee shop in Mt. Vernon called the Keen Bean. It's really one of the hidden jewels of the town. The owners roast their own coffee beans and have a wonderful array of baked goods and small lunches to choose from. As I was waiting for my mocha this morning, looking around at the tantalizing treats on display, I noticed a sign I hadn't seen before. It was a wooden board on which was printed, "Motto to Live By". As I read it, I felt it spoke to many of the things I've been thinking about recently. About the importance of living life to the fullest, of not being all-consumed by one aspect of your life, of not forgetting that our stay here is, in fact, very brief and we should make the most of it. I can't recount it word for word, but this is the general gist. "Life is not a journey to arrive at the grave very attractive with a well-preserved body. Rather, we should come skidding in sideways, chocolate in one hand, a latte in the other, with a well-used body screaming at the top of our lungs, 'Whoo-Hoo! What a ride!'"
I know my work is important, and I want to do my best. I know that I need to be in better shape and I want to be healthy. But I also know that life is short, and I want to make the most of it. There's balance in everything, it's just a matter of finding the right one:)
Blessings and Peace,