I work as a parttime (volunteer) librarian and as parttime (paid) teachers aide at a little tiny church school, which also happens to be the church where I attend. This is also the school where my little red goes. I have started the book club which runs during the school year and a childrens fellowship/prayer group that runs all year long. I, myself, attend an adults group which meets every friday evening, for prayer, discussion and fellowship. I lead the childrens Sunday school every Sunday except those days that I am out of town. Every Saturday I attend the hour prayer time which is devoted to praying for the community in which we live and all other aspects of life, our families, the children in the school, the country, whatever.
All this to set the scene...
I went to the PTA awards banquet the other night, as a staff member I had to. I sat in the back with the lady who used to be the volunteer librarian before me. Pastor Bob came in late and sat with us also. I watched with some mild nastiness of spirit as the PTA awards were handed out, cheap little xeroxed papers, thanking all those who done some sort of work for the school.
I thought over the events of the past year, most of it very good (getting to know some great kids), some of it very sad (learning about things like divorce in childrens lives), some of it extremely irritating (6th grade boys and raging hormones) and some of it disheartening (being left out of the teachers and staff retreat). Through out the year I wouldn't give up and continued to work very hard every week, to be a good mentor for these children and to pray for them and the adults that govern their lives. I know the principal, as a fellow church person and feel very comfortable going to her and talking with her. On several occasions I had done so, in particular when I noticed that some of us were pointedly left out of the retreat. I was hoping to bring about a fresh awareness of the staff that is frequently overlooked, the childcare, playground, library and custodial staff. I believed that I did do this, even though it was rather painful for me to have to go through.
So back to the awards night... The principal began to announce the next award, (I had already received one of the papers) and lo and behold, guess who is the volunteer of the year? Yep, but instead of being pleased, I was pissed. Go figure.
Part of this confusing set of emotions I chalk up to menopause, but mostly, in my nastiness of spirit I was thinking of it as a consolation
prize. I hate it when I am crazy and this was definitely one of those times. You have to understand I was really upset about this award!
The next day as I walked across the playground to go the class I was working in, this woman that I don't like (I can't stand her) came up to me and with a big flourish of a hug, she said to me..."Oh congradulations on volunteer of the year...I got one of those too when I was new..." .
I felt physically ill. In my twisted nasty self, it confirmed everything that I was saying to myself, (knowing full well that it was all lies of the devil). But never-the-less the feelings were overwhelming and I was in full blown grief and upset. If this award made me anything like that horrible woman, then I was right.. It was shit. So when I was done with my work, I retired to our little prayer chapel, a tiny hidden-away room. I gave it all to Him. All the feelings of sadness, the feelings of "not good enough", the anger, the confusion. It was horrible and I was embarrassed by myself. After an hour went by I knew that I needed help and went to find Pastor Bob.
I have to tell you, a good friend is a treasure indeed. He was able to console me, correct me and just be there for me. I told him that I knew I was being a total titty-baby about everything and that I felt really stupid, but still the feelings were real. Bob knows the devotion I have to the Lord and to this school. He also knows my shortcomings, and from whence I came (the circus). We talked and then we prayed together and I was able to carry on.
Working with the children at the school is a blessing for me. I have to continually make sure that my heart is right so that I can help them the best. I want to be a better person, and sometimes being human gets in the way.
I realise that I don't work there for the silly apple on the plaque award... Its for the kids, for the Lord, for my own little red to be close to her everyday, and it gives me a great deal of happiness to be surrounded by books.
I love my job. I also like being invited to the fun stuff with grownups once in awhile. Feeling left out is no fun at all. And consolation prizes suck big time. But the truth is, I know that I deserve that award big time. I worked my butt off and will continue to do so next year. And trust me, it's not for the recognition. And I know that I am not another Betty Hayes, but God forgive me for my hardness of heart and nastiness.
Anyway, it's going to be summer now and I'm glad. I could use a good hike.