Last night I went to a holiday gathering. The only thing we all had in common is that we had taught (or, in some cases, still teach) at a particular middle school. But that single bond is a strong one. Some of the attendees have been absent from those halls for several years (I am one of them), yet we return to this particular gathering every year like well-trained homing pigeons.
It’s unusual for a group of coworkers to form this kind of bond. But that’s because the conditions were unusual as well. It was an amazing school, yet, in many ways, it was the trenches. Our clientele needed so much from us that we were all full-time caregivers as well as teachers. Many of them came from violence and it was the only language that they spoke. It meant that we were also full-time law enforcement. We endured many changes of the guard with ever-changing rules and expectations. Some administrators were wonderful. Others, abusive. We became full-time counselors to our coworkers as well as our students. We had many tragedies stroke our students and our staff. We became family.
We bonded because we survived together.
We bonded because we all had a shared understanding.
We bonded because, on many days, that bond was the only thing keeping us sane.
Our relationships formed under great pressure and at great depths.
And that’s how diamonds are made.
And, as we all know,
Diamonds are forever.
In many ways, I feel the same way about you guys, my online community.
We have all survived.
We all speak a common language of love and loss.
We have all helped each other.
We have all been through the depths and the pressure.
And yet we won’t let the darkness quiet our voices or our spirits.
I like to think we shine like those diamonds, offering a beacon of hope.
As we enter in to the final days of the year, I am reflecting back on 2013. And feeling grateful for this community. You offered me support when I saw my ex for the first time in years. You helped me process my thinking when I was debating about leaving writing behind. You pumped me up with my latest endeavor. You celebrated with me when I married again. I had the pleasure of meeting some of you in the flesh, revealing the faces behind the stories. And, even more importantly, you supported each other, through comments and shares, offering hope and reassurance.
You guys are awesome.
I wish all of you the best as we close out the year. I hope you can celebrate the way you want – whether it be in a house full of people or tucked under the covers with a good book.
And, remember that you’re not alone.