Thursday, June 21, 2012

Dreams of Restored Houses

I woke up in the wee hours of Wednesday morning from a dream.  It was one of those dreams in which I felt safe and warm.  I had the vague recollection of being at my grandparents' house in one part of the dream, someplace else in another part.  I hadn't crossed the threshold of the house my mother grew up in since I was twelve years old, but I can remember the way it smelled, the way the house was laid out, and the way it looked.  I remember the way the light fell on the house in the afternoon and the sway of the cottonwood tree by my grandmother's bedroom window in the summer.  I can recount the details of cubby holes and hiding places long since ground to dust in the field upon which it once stood.  And yet, I cannot recall the dream.

I wracked my brain all day yesterday; I hoped that some aspect of my day would jar my memory and give it back to me.  It did not.  I awoke so suddenly that I could not recall the dream.  In its place, a single phrase surfaced into my consciousness:  I dreamt of restored houses.  This was intriguing to me, because the home my grandfather built was torn down in the early '80's.  The other place in my dream was lost to me--the only detail I could remember was that I was playing some type of ball game.  I know that there were others playing with me, but I don't remember who they were.  Obviously, my mind held onto the most important aspect of the dream, the truth of the dream that was meant to stay with me. 

I definitely believe in the significance of dreams.  I have believed that God speaks to us through dreams for as long as I can remember.  I often evaluate my dreams for the larger message or meaning that they contain.  From time to time, I interpret dreams for others.  I have meditated on the meaning of the phrase "restored houses".  I certainly believe that God restores houses, both in the physical and the symbolic senses.  In this case, the only house that needs restoration would be my church.  Presently, the church is in the midst of a major renovation.  The contractor on the project ran away with a significant amount of money a couple of months ago, and the situation is not yet sorted out.  We have a group of men working on solving the problems and completing the renovation.  Sometimes, it seems pretty dire.  When I told Brian about my dream, the church was the first thing that came to his mind.  "Maybe it means God is going to restore the church," he said.  I sure hope so.  It is certainly in His power to do so.  Under the circumstances, His is the only power that will restore it. 

For now, I will continue to pray and meditate on the meaning of the dream.  I know that waking from the dream was bitterweet, as I didn't realize how much I missed my grandparents' old house and I didn't want to leave it.  There were so many pleasant memories associated with it.  It was the site of so much joy and fellowship.  I hope that God will allow me to revisit the dream, and perhaps reveal to me what was meant by the words that came to me after.

Many blessings,


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Achieving Goals

I've always been a goal-setter.  I am a big believer in setting standards for oneself, then working towards achieving those standards.  For the past two years, my goal has been to become a Special Education Teacher.  As of June 11, my goal has been achieved.  June 11, this past Monday, I received my transfer paperwork from Human Resources.  This paperwork changed my status from Special Ed. Paraprofessional in the Communications Class at ____ Elementary to Special Ed. Teacher in the Academic, Vocational, Life Skills (AVLS) Class at _______ Elementary. 

The funny thing about goals, though, is that you never really stop once you've achieved them.  The metaphorical mountain that is ascended must be descended; a goal achieved must be accomplished in some form or another.  For me, I have now acquired the position, but I must also fulfill it.  So, training has begun.  After 260 hours of classwork, I now enter a period of training on procedures, curriculum, and technology.  I had the opportunity to meet the team of teachers that I will be working with on Wednesday at a training day.  I had the opportunity to sub for a couple of them in the school year before last when I was subbing.  (In truth, I got the job in large part due to subbing.  I had viewed substitute teaching as an extended job interview, and in fact, it really was.)

The job seems pretty perfect to me:  I will be working at the same school that Jesse and Lily attend; I already know a lot of the teachers that I will be working with; I like all of the teachers I will be working with; I know all of my students except one; and I have a great deal of confidence in the administration of the school.  All this, plus, the school is five minutes from my house.  Seriously, I couldn't have planned this all myself.  I know God's Hand is all over this.  To express all of the moves and changes that had to happen for this position to even become available would take a while.  It has truly been a blessing, and I am so grateful. 

Having said all of this, I have to say for anyone who is out there struggling to attain a goal:  Don't let discouragement get the best of you.  REALLY.  To that end, it is staggering to me to think of how much negative stuff people told me as I was switching careers.  Mostly, I heard, "That is soooo hard!  Are you sure you want to do that?  It takes a special kind of person to do that..."  People said this because they only viewed me in one perspective; to most people who knew me, I was the women's ministry leader at my church.  I taught preschool.  No one knew my educational or professional background.  Did I mind?  Not really.  I just thought to myself, "Maybe I'm that special kind of person...." Also, I think it taught me not to cast aspersions on someone else's dream.  Just because something doesn't appeal to me doesn't mean that it doesn't have appeal to someone else.  Our viewpoints are so narrow and so limiting.  I've learned these last couple of years that we get in a lot of trouble if we only view things from our narrow perspective.  We have to be a lot less egocentric if we're going to truly get along with others. 

More recently, someone told me that I had "a snowball's chance in hell" of being hired by this district.  I had another person tell me that "subbing did nothing for me".  I guess I should thank the God of snowballs like me!  I learned that just because someone is older, or even in a position of authority, doesn't necessarily mean that they know what is best for you.  I had to continue to believe God and motivate on my knowledge of Him.  I also had to ask myself how badly I wanted to teach.  At the end of the day, if a little discouragement can dissuade you from your goal, then you aren't really committed to that goal.

I hope my kids will learn from all of this.  I want them to see that some things are worth working hard for.  I don't ever want them to fear hard work and accomplishment.  There is a great deal to be gained from diligence.

Many blessings,