Earlier this fall, I interviewed for a programs writing position with the Preemptive Love Coalition (PLC), a nonprofit waging peace in conflict zones. I didn't tell but a handful of folks because I knew from the start that it was a longshot job. I have little writing experience (in the grand scheme) and zero international writing experience, but I took a chance, and went ahead and applied for it anyway because I appreciate the mission and history of the PLC and wanted desperately to be a part of this.

You see, since I left teaching, my life often feels a bit void of meaning. I really don't mean to be melodramatic, but teaching was everything for me (which was actually part of the problem). For me, teaching was an act of social justice. Much of my teaching was an act of defiance--a pushing back and maneuvering around confining standards. It was picking the books and the articles and creating the assignments that went above and beyond the standards and fanned critical discourse. For me, teaching was an outstretched hand to the kid whose hand had been slapped too many times. But, there are dark days to teaching...many dark days, and many days I left whatever school I called home feeling like I had the shit kicked outta me by administrators, parents, colleagues, and kids. Even on these days, though, I knew my work had meaning. But I don't feel pulled back into teaching. (I know that sounds so woo-woo, but I feel like I have a new, undiscovered purpose.)


On going home

Today I drove back to my hometown, Columbus. My parents no longer live there, and my grandma has passed on, so it's been awhile since I've been back. Today my visit was a somber one. One of my first friends from when I moved there in the seventh grade, my college roommate--lost her mom too soon. Today we celebrated her full, fun life.

Driving home

Just like death has a way of digging up the bones of old memories, so does place. Things I hadn't thought about in years suddenly became vivid recollections as I turned off the highway:


The morning after

The election is over, and many of us are approaching today differently based on our own set of personal beliefs. I've said quite a bit about the election over the past year, so it's no surprise that I have something to say today. 

To my kids--J, who cried this morning and whispered that he was scared; K, who meekly asked me if we'd ever have a woman for a president:  
Some of your classmates will be scared today. Comfort them and be kind to them today. Look for ways to be kind--that's how you can fight hatred. Try not to worry or be scared; it's okay to feel this way, but remember--we serve a God who is bigger than our government. There will probably be lots of talk on the playground or at lunch today about our new president. I don't want you to talk politics with your friends. I want you to be a kid and do kid things today. And don't forget to always be kind even when others aren't.

To my former students: 
Remember all the social justice work and talk we did in class? This moment is what you've been training for. Don't forget Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s four steps for non-violent direct action (par. 6). Don't forget about the Anti-Defamation League's Pyramid of Hate and Pyramid of Alliance.