For the most part, I have been satisfied with my career choices. There were a couple jobs in recent years that I did as a means to an end rather than because I felt passionate about what I was doing. Even though I was content in most positions, I never felt like I had found the "right" thing.
One of my favorite jobs so far was when I taught elementary school part time a few years ago. While I always thought, growing up, that I would some day be a teacher, I NEVER planned to teach at the elementary level. I was surprised at how much I loved it. I even loved subbing - I loved getting to know the students, seeing them weeks later when I was back at the school subbing for someone else.
Even though I loved that, I couldn't picture myself going back to college to be a teacher. I struggled with the idea of pouring into a group of 25 kids for a year and then sending them off to someone else while I started fresh with another group. I know teachers have been doing that for ages and it works just fine, but I couldn't fathom letting go like that.
I am four months into a new job as an elementary school librarian. Four days a week, I get to walk into an elementary school and engage with 60 to 80 students in the library and 240+ in the lunch room. Every day I get to be in relationship with these amazing kids. Every day I get to talk to them about books and reading and life and their birthdays and their families and their pets and their hobbies and all the things that are precious to them. While I'm not a librarian by education, my passion for my students and for reading and children's books is carrying me through.
The first couple months of the job felt like I was swimming against the tide. I was trying to get my feet under me, but the school year kept sweeping me along as there were lessons to plan and classes to lead and not nearly enough time to plan and organize my space and my systems like I wanted to. But somewhere this fall it stopped being work. I let go of the desire to make everything "right," figuring that's what summer break is for. I found a rhythm to the days and the weeks and found my teaching "voice." I found my way with the school's discipline system so that I can use it in a way that feels natural.
This past Sunday in church, the pastor was talking about how God speaks. He mentioned God speaking through
- the way God made us
- gifts and graces
- the community where God places us
As I listened, I realized that I have finally found what I was searching for through all those years of reading and researching and conferences and inventories. I have never felt so at home in a job - or in my own skin - in my life. I can't find words big enough or strong enough to reflect the joy and the "rightness" of this stage in my life. I feel connected with God in a new way because I feel like the way He made me is lining up with the gifts and experiences I have had and He has placed me in a community where I can be myself and serve in a way that is true to who I am. The fact that it has happened during a year of such tremendous loss makes me that much more grateful.