Monday, March 3, 2008

Hangin' on

My thoughts on retiring have been almost all negative, except for anticipating what comes next. All I could see was the stress of what amounts to almost two jobs, the inherent stresses of teaching and primary care, the never-endingness of the clinic, my diminished capabilities (slower, less stamina - I hit the wall usually around 2pm), the early deaths of my immediate family and the relationship of that to my probabilities of a long life (even with my healthier lifestyle, who would bet on a long life for me?) and with that in mind, the repulsiveness of working to the end (which wouldn’t be bad if I still loved what I do, but I don’t). Finally, this week I had growing glimmers and then a full re-realization of my appreciation for my work. I credit Leslie and my students.

Last week was terribly stressful, even ghastly in some respects, but Leslie, of course, was her faithful steadfast self and so I gradually turned away from the difficulties. And I finally figured out that my students have done a great job – they’ve probably been better students that I’ve been a teacher. We’ve been a good team – and this week, completely in-synch and doing an excellent job in the clinic, the school, on outreach.

Today, after work, walking along the railroad tracks, heading for the “big black bridge” where David and I spent so many magical hours
Walkin’ down the railroad track
Til you reach the river
Turn around and head on back
When the day is done

(now it’s 30 minutes out and 30 back), iPod going from Lightning Crashes to Oh God Our Help in Ages Past …

Time, like an ever-rolling stream,
bears all its sons away; they fly forgotten,
as a dream dies at the opening day.
O God, our help in ages past,
our hope for years to come,
be thou our guard while troubles last,
and our eternal home.

Today there were railroad cars on the tracks, which I haven’t seen in years – so that was real nice. Thinking about my students (don’t want to name them here) – people with strength, integrity, toughness, kindness, intelligence, motivation. A fair amount happened this rotation! In the end, I realized how good it’s been all along and I am grateful. This was a young group, and within that, extraordinarily mature, a good team, focused.

Today one of the students put on a fanny pack, cardigan, and stethoscope in a wonderful spoof – of someone. Another person stepped up with determination and competence over the last weeks and on the last day pushed her grade up a level, proving once again that it ain’t til it’s over. And there was someone who …
Gets it right.
Was behind at the end of the first week and then went to work and never looked back.
Blew it the first day and marched forward to a good place.
I knew I could depend on.
Found a treasure.
Showed up at exactly the right time.
Like a fellow veteran, has seen some action - blooded …
The list goes on …

No comments: