Hi from Pittsburgh

Hello readers! I just wanted to pop in to say hey hey hey from Pittsburgh PA (I couldn’t resist)!

I’ve been here with two elementary teachers from the Fargo Catholic Schools Network since yesterday afternoon and so far everything has been AMAZING. We’ve been to opening Mass (6,000 people singing “Gather Your People” almost made me cry), listened to the opening address from Cardinal Donald Wuerl, and attended two professional development sessions. I will write more about everything I’m learning and experiencing, but I’m writing this on my phone (which is a pain) and I need to get to bed to be ready for tomorrow. I just wanted to make sure you know I haven’t forgotten about you. Have a lovely week!!

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Just Keep Swimming

Ok, is anyone else struggling majorly to make it through this week?  I can’t believe it is only Wednesday morning–it feels like Monday was about 3 weeks ago!

I’m looking forward to this week being over for multiple reasons.  Number 1, it’s a short week.  The week isn’t as short as it was supposed to be (today was supposed to be our last day before break, but we are making up a fake snow day–see this post) but we still only have one more day before we are off for break.  And let me tell you, this break is much needed.  The kids are all checked out and we are dealing with behavior issues we don’t normally see.  The staff is also pretty tired and many of us are finding it difficult to stay motivated day in and day out.  Easter break is going to be welcomed by all.

Reason #2:  it’s almost Easter.  I really enjoy Easter weekend.  I like all the church services (even Good Friday, even though it’s pretty depressing).  I’m sooooooo excited for Lent to be over so I can drink coffee again (worst idea ever to give that up).  I’m excited to see my family and some of my friends who will also be back, dye eggs, and eat a delicious meal on Sunday afternoon.  Easter is all about new life and joy, so for me it usually marks the arrival of spring.  No matter that we woke up to snow on the ground in Fargo this morning, once Easter comes it feels like spring is here.  And since Easter is pretty late this year, once we come back it feels like it’s basically summer break.

Reason #3:  after Easter I get to spend 5 days in Pittsburgh.  My school is sending me on an all-expense paid trip to attend the NCEA (National Catholic Educational Association) National Convention.  I am attending with two other teachers (one from each of the Catholic grade schools).  I fly out of Dickinson early Monday morning, and then it’s 5 days of listening to awesome speakers, attending workshops and huge worship celebrations, staying in a hotel (I LOVE staying in hotels), going to Pirates games, and taking in all Pittsburgh has to offer.  Did I mention it’s all free?  

So yes, I am very ready for this week to be over.  I feel like life has been throwing a lot at me again, and Easter break and the NCEA trip will be just what I need to rejuvenate.  I’m ready for a break from my normal routine and to get out and experience new things and meet new people.  I want to have a busy schedule so I don’t have time to sit around and let my mind wander over all the things that have happened lately.  I’m so excited to go to the convention and learn everything that I can, but I’m also welcoming the distraction it will provide from everything else.  Plus, it’s really nice to be excited about something again.

As much as everything that happened last week hurt me, I’m glad it happened when it did.  I only had to get through a few days and now I get to go surround myself with the loving support of my family and some of my friends, and then I get to take a trip that will probably be amazing.  This situation just reinforced for me that God has a plan and everything happens for a reason.  I think I needed to find out the things I learned last week about C.  That experience helped me come to new understanding and acceptance about what happened with our relationship.  But it was still really hard and painful to learn those things, so it’s good that it happened right before I get to leave on these trips.  It was a painful yet necessary experience, but the timing of it is making it a little easier to live through.

I guess the moral of this post (here I go again with the lessons) is that if you are going through a crappy situation, do your best to keep struggling through.  Everything happens for a reason, and great pain often leads to great change and growth.  Instead of asking God why you have to deal with so much crap (which is where I was last Friday) instead ask for strength to get through and trust the plan.  If you can do that, it will usually work out in the end.

Also, anyone else going to be at NCEA next week?!

Release

I was a pretty big emotional wreck when I posted on Friday.  I wasn’t lying when I said that my friends helped me through that situation.  They really did.  But it still sucked.  Even after talking to them and remembering I am loved, I still had a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach.  Maybe it was left over from what I saw, or maybe it was a premonition of what was to come.

Yes, somehow Friday afternoon got worse.  Remember when I posted about C’s job working as a fast food cook and how he hoped to start sending me money in April?  Well, I need to pay the cancellation fee for our party bus and was hoping he could help with that, so I emailed him on Monday asking how he wanted to send me money.  He never replied, and I started to fear the worst (ever since everything happened a part of me is constantly worried about getting a call that tells me C either died of an overdose or committed suicide) so I texted his dad asking if everything was ok.  His dad finally replied to me on Friday, and from his cryptic response I immediately knew that C was using again.  I bluntly asked his dad, “Did he relapse?” and he replied that he did, but it only happened once.  I then asked if he was back in treatment and he said no, he doesn’t need to be because it only happened once.  I replied that maybe he doesn’t know the whole story, because when C first told me what happened he said that he had used once and wanted to get help before it got bad.  Only a little later did it come out that he’d been using for a year and a half.

I’m almost positive C is using again and needs to be back in treatment.  Whenever I needed to email him in the last few months, he always replied within an hour and always included how many days clean he was.  Now it’s been over a week and I still haven’t heard from him.  I’m afraid his parents are in denial, or they’ve just given up on him.  Either way, I have to let it go.  Nothing I can do or say will help.  I tried for almost 3 years to be enough for him so he wouldn’t have to turn to drugs, but it didn’t work.  So even though I desperately want to call C and try to talk some sense into him, I won’t do that.

I can see now how an addiction can rule someone’s life.  I see the situation so clearly with my non-addicted brain.  If I was doing something that caused my fiancee to leave me, caused me to lose my job and have to move somewhere where I have nothing, and caused my family so much pain and heartache, I would STOP doing that in a heartbeat.  I’m not an addict, so that is a choice I am free to make.  C just can’t do that.  Less than 3 months after meth took everything from him he used again.  From what I saw on his Facebook, he is surrounding himself with other junkies again.  I can clearly see that he is not taking steps to lead a drug-free life, but apparently he can’t.

Frustrating though this realization is, it is also helping me forgive him.  I’m finally starting to believe that he did his best with our relationship.  He didn’t mean to hurt me.  His brain just tells him that he needs the drugs above all else, regardless of who he hurts in the process.  He is a very messed up person with a lot of problems.  But without the drugs I truly believe he never would have hurt me as badly as he did.  I can finally accept that he did love me in the best way he could.  Unfortunately, his best just is not what I deserve.

I’m trying very hard to let everything go.  I’ve been asking my friends and family to either unfriend him on Facebook or hide his updates.  I don’t want another mention of something someone saw to send me down a spiral again.  It can’t be my job to try and protect his feelings any more.  I will continue to pray, and pray hard, that he is able to find peace and live with his addiction.  It used to be so hard to pray for him; it’s not hard anymore.  He was my first real love, and a part of me will always care about him and want him to be happy.  But I’m done trying to do things to help him find happiness.  I just need to ask God to take care of him and hope those prayers will be enough to overcome his problems.

So yes, Friday sucked.  I went home from school and cried my eyes out.  I followed my own advice and reached out to Jill, who promptly called me and helped calm me down.  Then I forced myself to run even though all I wanted to do was lay in my bed and cry.  It was through this phone call and this run that I realized all the things in this post.  Who knew I was so good at giving advice? 🙂

Readers, please pray for me that I can stay on this path to forgiveness.  I feel peaceful now, but I know it’s going to take a lot of strength to sustain.  And please pray for C.  I think he’s at a point where he needs as many prayers as he can possibly get.  I’ve heard statistics that say only 3% of people who use meth can overcome the addiction, so he needs as much help as possible.

Finally, as another symbol of letting go I sold my engagement ring yesterday.  Someone offered me cash for it, and I didn’t accept their offer because I told myself that I could get a better offer.  In truth, I realized I was just scared to sell it.  That was one of my most prized possessions for over 9 months.  It was a symbol of my love and of my future, and the idea of selling it was so final.  I knew I had to do it, so I did.  It’s gone.  I didn’t know the person I sold it to, so I will never see it again.  I will admit, it was really sad to do it.  But it was another necessary step on my path to healing.

Top of the List

Yesterday I posted my top 10 list of things to do to fight back when life gets you down.  I have to share what happened to me last night that made me realize I left one of the most important things off the list.  This post is going to start with a story.  In this story Amy is bad and asks that her readers please don’t judge her.  The story has a good ending though, I promise.  Just stick with me.

So last night I was hanging out with my sister and she made some offhand comment about how one of C’s sisters had posted a picture of him and he looks like he’s getting fat.  Naturally, the evil and shallow part of me wanted to see said picture.  However, since I unfriended everyone associated with that life I could not see the picture.  This is where I get dumb.  I decided instead of just letting it go, I would log into his account.  I knew his old password and was surprised to see he hadn’t changed it since we’d broken up.  I promise I was just going to look at the picture and then log out.  When I logged in I saw he had a new message.  This is where I get dumber (please don’t judge me…it was a moment of extreme weakness).  It was from some girl, and I clicked on the message.  I scrolled up thru older messages and saw that in mid-March he was sending her messages saying things like “hey beautiful” and “just thinking about how cute and beautiful you are.”

I have no idea when these messages started.  I only made it to mid-March and had to close out because I was crying so hard.  I know I completely did this to myself, but I was so, so hurt.  He told me he wanted to stay together.  He said he still wanted to marry me.  He told me he would always love me.  Yet less than 3 months after we broke up he is saying all these things to someone else?  I was on my bathroom floor in a puddle of tears.

Ok.  That’s the end of the part where Amy is dumb.  Now comes the part where Amy remembers what she should’ve included on yesterday’s list.

I couldn’t deal with this on my own, so I sent out some texts that told the story to Jill (Notre Dame best friend), Mary (one of my high school best friends), Nikki (sister), Christian (a friend I met post-breakup) and my aunt (who is 17 years younger than my dad and 8 years older than me, so she’s more like my big sister).  Everyone responded within seconds, and they were amazing.  There was a lot of C bashing going on (“What a loser.  Thank God you dodged that bullet.”)  but there was also more helpful replies.  Several of my friends told me that he probably wasn’t over me, but this was a coping mechanism.  They all admitted to doing the same thing when they’ve been dumped in the past.  Christian gave me the male perspective and said that he’d “probably do the same thing as soon as I knew it was for sure over.  It’s easier to act like you’re interested in someone else than sitting around by yourself missing your ex.”  Jill assured me that she’d done something similar because a breakup made her feel worthless and she just wanted to be loved.  Mary reminded me that C’s got a lot of messed up issues and I’m so much stronger and deserve so much better.  In the end, they all convinced me that I wasn’t just a worthless person who can be forgotten in 2 months, and this is more of C trying to cope with the situation (which he is 100% entitled to do).

They were amazing.  Everyone I sent out cries for help to responded within minutes.  They all continued to send encouraging texts for hours, and one even FaceTimed me so he could see for himself that I was really ok.  As much as reading those messages sucked and hurt, the overwhelming love and support I felt afterward made it ok.

So that’s the item I left off my list–reaching out for support from those who love you.  It can be tough to do this sometimes.  I didn’t want to admit to my friends that I was THAT girl who had logged into her ex’s Facebook and read a message.  But trying to deal with that on my own would’ve been hell.  I don’t love C anymore and I don’t want to be with him, but it was still incredibly hard to see that he was trying to move on so quickly.  I felt unloved and tossed aside (even though I was the one who ended it).  My S.O.S. reminded me that neither of these things is true.  I still have people in my life who love me and will always be there for me.  It’s still a little tough to think about what I saw.  Whenever I feel the sadness creeping back in, I scroll through the text conversations from last night and remember that I will be ok.

It is hard to admit when we’ve done something wrong or stupid.  But it’s even harder to suffer in silence.  I need to add an amendment to yesterday’s post:

11.  Lean on a person (or people) who loves you.

It’s one thing to read motivational quotes on Pinterest, but it’s another thing entirely to hear someone say motivational things that are specifically about you.  Don’t be afraid to bring a little drama to your friends or family; they love you and want to do whatever they can to help you.  Suffering in silence helps no one.  Remember the old saying that “it takes a village”?  That doesn’t stop after childhood.  Humans are meant to be social creatures, so if you are having a hard time please reach out to those around you.  If you feel like you don’t have anyone you can talk to, reach out to me.  I’ve been through enough crap myself, I would always be happy to help 🙂

 

Corny, Cheeseball Thursday

This post is probably going to get super cheesy super fast.  Many people I know (myself included) have just been dealing with a lot of crap lately.  The universe seems to be throwing punches everywhere I look.  I thought that today, instead of focusing on the bad stuff, I would write a list of my Top 10 Ways to Fight Back When Life Attacks (because it’s a Thursday and who doesn’t love lists?).

1. Exercise

Yes, this one seems like a cliche answer.  And generally it’s one of the last things you feel like doing when you are dealing with negativity.  But whenever I can motivate myself to run I always feel so. much. better.  Part of it is the endorphins my body releases (nothing like a good runner’s high) and part of it is having complete control over something (I will not walk before my 6th mile is completed.  I will not) because generally when we are getting a good butt-kicking from life we feel like we have little control.  You may not want to do it, but get out there and get some exercise!

2.  Watch “Frozen” (or “Elf” or “Tangled” or any movie that makes you smile)

It is impossible for me to watch “Frozen” and stay pissed off.  Olaf is just too damn cute, and the scene with Oaken makes me want to pee my pants every time.  Don’t let yourself stay grumpy.  Dig out your most comfortable pair of sweats and put on a movie that never fails to make you laugh.  You may not feel 100% better when it’s over, but a little laughter is always good for the soul.

3.  Look up inspiration quotes on Pinterest

This is where the corny-ness starts.  Yes, I know.  So often we log on to Pinterest and see some dumb quote that someone has pinned and the eye rolls start.  But honestly, if you are feeling down in the dumps it can help to look at these.  I’ve always found a quote that speaks directly to my situation.  Just this morning I came across this:

 

ImageThis was great for me because it spoke to two struggles I’m facing in my life right now (pulling my life back together after ending my engagement and training for the half marathon).  It may be corny, but it helps a tiny bit.

4.  Have an Impromptu Dance Party.

I am not a good dancer.  Ask any of my friends and they will quickly confirm this fact.  However, if I’ve had a crap-tastic day there is nothing like putting on Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al” and having a dance party alone in my room (“What Makes You Beautiful” by 1D has also accompanied several of my dance parties)

ImageJ and I rockin’ out to Paul Simon (can you tell this is the part with the epic flute solo??)

5.  Go shopping

Retail therapy is not a joke.  If you are feeling crummy, go buy yourself a new shirt or dress or pair of shoes or some jewelry.  You don’t have to spend a lot.  I’ve had $5 earrings from Forever 21 lift my mood.  I combat feeling gross on the inside by buying something that makes me feel good on the outside.  This may sound shallow, but hey, who cares so long as it makes you feel better?

6.  Take a nap

Seriously.  Being tired affects my mood SO MUCH.  When I’m tired, things that I’m worried about are magnified x1000 (“There’s absolutely no way I can ever possibly finish this half marathon, even though I’ve done 2 already.  I’ve only ran 6 miles and we are 4 weeks away.  I’m so worried I can’t do it”).  In the same vein, the negativity in my life seems so much worse when I haven’t gotten enough sleep.  Sometimes dropping everything and catching a few ZZZ’s can go a long way.

7.  Take on a DIY Project

I am not a crafty person, but I like to pretend that I am.  A good way for me to pull myself out of the dumps is to find a relatively simple DIY project to do (the relatively simple part is important.  If I take on something that is out of my league I will probably fail and end up more pissed off than I was to begin with).  It feels good to look at something you’ve created and think “Wow. Two hours ago that was just a picture on Pinterest and I turned it into reality.”  A little self-satisfaction can help offset the self-doubt you may be feeling (again, if you are like me and crafting isn’t your strong suit, I can’t stress enough the RELATIVELY SIMPLE part).

8.  Have a good cryfest

Sometimes you just need to let it out.  If you’ve been fighting tears for awhile, maybe you should just let them go.  A good crying session can be so therapeutic.  Don’t think of it as being weak; think of it as a release of negative emotions.  And if you do this, give it your all.  Don’t silently leak a few tears.  Really go after it.  Sob, and sob loudly.  Moan if you need to.  But get it all out.  After 10, 20, maybe 30 minutes you will feel much better.

9.  Google Image search “Baby Animals”

This is not a joke.  Just go search this one time.  All that cuteness HAS to make you feel a little bit better 🙂

How can you be sad while looking at this little nugget?

10.  Pray

If you are a religious person, this is the most important.  Sometimes it can be tough to pray when you feel like life is kicking you while you’re down.  I’ve had times where I’ve legitimately thought “there is now way God cares about me right now.  If He did, life wouldn’t suck this much.”  It’s important to overcome these feelings and pray.  I mean really pray.  If you need to get mad and chew God out, do it.  If you need to just give up and ask Him to carry you, then do it.  I could do all other nine things on this list, and all of them combined would not give me the feelings of relief and peace that I experience after offering up a really good prayer.

This list is not exhaustive.  While typing it I thought of at least 10 other things I do to make myself feel better, and had to choose my top ten (do I included Googling “baby animals” or “cute babies”?).   But I have honestly done every single one at some point, and they have all helped lift my spirits (maybe even just a little bit).  So if you are feeling like life is currently using you as toilet paper, give one (or two, or all) of them a try.

 

 

New Look

Hey guys–sorry for the double post Wednesday.  I was just looking at my blog and decided the old layout looked too drab and wintery, so I changed things up.  I was probably inspired by the beautiful weather we are having here (it’s supposed to climb to 72° here today…that’s like 30° warmer than it’s been since September!!) but I think the new look is a lot more cheerful.  I chose my favorite (albeit overused) quote from Tolkien as the new header.  Though this quote might be seen excessively, I just think it describes my life so perfectly right now. Yes, I’m wandering a bit after the major changes that have taken place.  But my life isn’t lost.

So don’t freak out!  Even though I look different it’s still me here, just rambling away 🙂

The First Call

While I was running the other day (I’m up to 6 miles in my training…we aren’t going to count the atrocious 4 mile run I struggled with yesterday) I was thinking about my life.  I’ve known that I’ve been lonely since ending my engagement.  That was no shock, and it shouldn’t be.  I went from having a fiancee, someone who was always there (either physically or by phone/email/Gchat), to being single.  I’ve mentioned before how I have an amazing support group of family and friends, but there was definitely a void left after I lost that intimate relationship.

During this run, I realized something else.  I’m not anyone’s “first call.”  What do I mean by first call?  Think about it.  If something really amazing happens to you or you get some really great news, who is the first person you would call to share?  On the flip side, if something bad happens, who is the first person you want to talk to about it?  Chances are this is probably the same person.  For much of my friends and family, this person is probably their significant other.  C used to be my first call, and I was his.  Now my first call is probably my parents or my sister, and I’m pretty sure I am not anyone’s first call.  This is an incredibly lonely thought.

I think we all want to feel loved and special.  It’s been about 3.5 months since I ended my engagement.  I’m probably not in a place where I’m ready to enter into another serious relationship, but part of me really wants to start dating again.  I want to start trying to fill the void of lack of a significant other.  I want to be someone’s first call again.

I know, I know…now I’m just being pitiful.  But how adorbs is Stitch?

Don’t worry readers.  I’m not going to be stupid and jump into a relationship with the wrong guy.  The explosion and aftermath of what happened with C has made me a lot more wary of people and more selective about the men I get involved with.  I just hope this new resolve lasts, because the loneliness is starting to take it’s toll.  I want to be someone who can say that she’s perfectly happy being single and alone, but that’s just not me.  I miss the companionship.  I miss being loved (not as a daughter/sister/friend, but as a girlfriend).  I miss caring for someone and being cared for.  I miss being the first one to hear good or bad news.

We all know the old adage “love comes when you least expect it.”  I think this means that instead of looking for love we need to work on loving ourselves, and when we get better at that we will find someone who loves us the way we are.  I know I need to continue to work on making myself better before I will be ready to love again.  Anybody have tips on how to make that road feel a little less lonely?

It’s Official

Hey y’all, it’s been a few days since I’ve posted.  A lot has happened in those days.  Most importantly, a lot has happened in those few days related to me potentially moving back into the classroom next year (yeah, the title of this post is a spoiler.  Sorry I’m not sorry).

On Tuesday last week I told the middle school principal that I would like to officially be considered for the 6th grade social studies/religion position that is opening up next year due to a retirement.  All he replied was “Excellent,” so I waited until Friday and then emailed him asking what the next steps are.  He said that all that was left for me to do was talk to the school chaplain about his expectations for a religion teacher.  I set up a meeting with Fr. Charles that afternoon.

I thought it was going to be a pretty relaxed discussion about the topics covered in 6th grade religion classes.  Wrong.  It was a full-fledged interview, and kind of intense.  He asked me about my personal faith journey and why I wanted to be a religion teacher.  Then he started asking me how much I knew about certain teachings of the Church (Theology of the Body, papal infallibility, teachings on homosexual people vs. homosexual acts, etc).  THEN he asked if I would take the state Know Your Faith test, which is a test administered to high school students around the state (the top scorers from each Catholic school make up that school’s Know Your Faith team, and the schools then compete against each other in Catholic Jeopardy.  It’s actually a really fun event).  The test wasn’t too bad, and he told me it wasn’t a make-or-break thing for the job, just something to give him an idea of areas I might be strong in and areas that might need work.

Well, Fr. Charles stopped by this morning to tell me that he gave the principal a “total endorsement” for me to join the religion department, and that he is very excited to work with me to see what we can accomplish in the department.  About 3 minutes later the principal came to my desk.  this is how our conversation went:

“Did Fr. Charles come talk to you?”
“Yep, he was here just a couple minutes ago.”
“K good.  You want it?”
“I want it.”
“Awesome.  I will let the business office know to open up the media specialist position.”

Five minutes later this email came:

Image(edited to maintain privacy)

So it’s official!  I will be moving back into the classroom next year!  I am very, very, very excited, but I’m also nervous.  I’m not so much worried about the social studies part of the job.  I have my degree in social studies, plus another teacher has 2 of the sections of social studies classes so she can help me.  I’m totally on my own with the religion classes.  Plus, part of me worries I’m not a good enough person to be teaching religion.  I mentioned this to the chaplain, and he said the most important things he looks for in a religion teacher is someone who loves God and loves the Church, who is excited, and who is willing to continually learn and grow.  I fit all those qualifications.  It’s just hard to feel a little underqualified since I’m not a nun and I’ve done my fair share of sinning in my life.

I hope this job is a sign that the really crappy part of 2014 in over and I’m entering the uphill part of the year.  I feel like I have purpose again; instead of wasting my days in the mindlessness of the World Wide Web I am now looking up tools and lessons for 6th grade religion courses.  I’m already getting nervous for next year, but it’s a good nervous.  It’s an anticipatory nervous, not a dreading nervous.  

Any advice/prayers would be most welcome!!

I Don’t Think I Can Do It…

I’ve come across a few blog posts recently that discuss the topic of forgiveness.  These posts talk about the importance of forgiveness in the healing process.  Several mention how one can never really be free from the pain of the past without truly forgiving those who have hurt you.

I am a practicing Catholic and grew up in the Church.  The message of forgiveness certainly is not new to me.  I’ve had countless religion classes and listened to countless homilies that emphasized the power of forgiveness.  It all makes sense, too.  True forgiveness releases negative emotions and hurt.  It frees the soul to become whole again.  It allows one to start over.

It’s also much easier said than done.  Reading the posts about forgiveness helped me realize something: I absolutely do not forgive C for all the things he did and all the pain he caused me (if you are a new reader and want to catch up on what this man did, check here and here and here).  I think I’m starting to really get over him.  I don’t think about him much anymore.  I don’t constantly feel angry or sad.  I’m once again excited about my future and moving forward with my life.  However, I still haven’t forgiven him.

It would be so easy to say that I forgive him, but in my heart I know I’m not there yet.  How do I know this?  I don’t hope for the best for him.  I don’t wish him well.  I can’t include him in my prayers.  It’s not that I’m necessarily angry, it’s just hard to want the best for someone who did so many things to destroy my life.  It’s hard for me to believe that C deserves happiness, and that’s how I know that I haven’t forgiven him for what he did.  

I don’t like admitting these things.  I want to be a better person than that.  So I’m trying to approach this from a different angle.  I don’t need to forgive him for his benefit; I need to do it for my own.  I’m trying to internalize the fact that forgiving him, truly forgiving him, does not mean I’m saying that I’m ok with what he did.  It doesn’t mean that I want to piece our relationship back together.  It means I want to heal completely.  I want to let go of any remaining negativity.  I want to completely move past this whole experience so I can be whole again and fully give myself to someone in the future.

Is it bad to view forgiveness in this light?  Does it make me a selfish person?  I feel like true forgiveness should be a selfless act; does the fact that I’m trying to forgive someone so I can be whole again take away from the power of the act? 

Owning Up

If you live in eastern North Dakota, all you heard about last week was this great snowpocalypse that was supposed to hit us Sunday/Monday.  By 9 pm on Sunday evening, every single elementary, middle, high school, and college in the Fargo-Moorhead area had called off school for the following day.  This was the case even though not one snowflake had fallen.

My cousins and I were excited about the snow day.  Who doesn’t love an unexpected three-day weekend?  The weather was going to be bad and we wouldn’t have to go out in it, but instead could stay curled up in bed and watch movies all day.  Yep, I was very ok with getting that call on Sunday night.

I woke up yesterday morning at about 8:30 and gingerly pulled back the curtain in my bedroom.  I’m pretty checked out of winter and was nervous to see the 10-20 inches of snow we were supposed to get.  This is the view I was greeted with:

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Yep.  No snow had fallen overnight.  It wasn’t even windy or bitterly cold.  We definitely should have been at school.  I was very frustrated, because even though I didn’t mind having an extra day off we would have to make this day up during our Easter break.  I’m fine with making snow days up with it’s disgusting out (I’d rather have one less day off at Easter than go outside in 20 inches of snow and 30 mph winds).  However, this is the second time this year that the superintendents of area schools let the meteorologists freak them out and called out school before seeing if that was necessary.

I was even more frustrated this morning.  The storm eventually did hit us at about 4 pm yesterday.  We didn’t get 10-20 inches of snow, but there were some pretty big drifts.  We did not have a snow day today, and while trying to get out of my driveway my car got stuck.  So there’s me at 7:30 am, trying to shovel enough snow to move my car and yelling about having a snow day when it’s dry out and then trying to get to school in this mess.  I made it to school about 5 minutes before first period started, all sweaty from shoveling and not in a good mood.

At about 10 we received an email from the superintendent.  He apologized for calling off school yesterday and stated that our procedure is to follow whatever the public schools do because “they have more contact with the city in terms of the status of snow removal progress” but that the administration will be reviewing that process for next year.

I felt really bad after receiving this email.  I had been grumpy with the administration all morning, but I should have realized that they are only human.  The town was freaking out about this massive blizzard and they didn’t want to put their students, staff, and parents in harm’s way.  I’m pretty impressed with our superintendent.  He owned up to making a mistake and is taking steps to avoid the same mistake in the future.

This whole scenario made me think about how different many situations would be if we just owned up to our mistakes instead of making excuses.  I don’t like to be wrong, so I can admit that I can be a pretty big excuse-maker if it turns out that I messed up.  That seems silly now.  In this situation, the superintendent owned up and helped relieve tense feelings.  If he would’ve sent an email with a bunch of excuses, I know I would’ve just felt even more frustrated.  I’m going to spend the rest of the day ingraining this into my memory so that my behavior can be different in the future.

As my 5th grade teacher liked to say, excuses are like armpits…we all have them and they all stink.