I seem to be living the tail end of a dying life. According to the statistics, I am not the only one. I am not the only teacher who woke up one day and realized she could not possibly continue at the speed of the classroom with the course set to testing. It was killing her. So it was the only career I have ever known, or myself. I chose me. I chose to let myself live, but my career had to die. I am not the only one making this choice. More articles and think pieces than I know about have been written about the state of education, the rate at which the teachers are leaving the classrooms. My first chosen profession is dying, is changing, is not what it was when I went to school to do it.
Perhaps unsustainable, or maybe just run its course, my life as I know it is dying.
I am trying to finish well. To honor the dying embers of my classroom life as I look to the next season. The next season will be on us in a matter of months, and I still don’t know what that will look like. It isn’t lost on me that the things I am longing to do, the professional mantels I hope to try on are in places people keep saying are dying.
I want to be a writer, to hold my own books in my hand and travel to talk about those books, to talk about the words and what they might mean to me and to others. I want to have space and time to wrestle with the constant stream in my head, not stolen moments at three a.m. when I can’t sleep anyway, or two more sentences while my kids whine that they are starving and when am I going to get them a snack. But one Google search of the publishing industry tells me that this is perhaps a dream a few decades old. The publishing industry, some say, is dying. And even as I sign with an agent and adjust my book proposal to the market, there is a place in me that wonders if all this talk about dying is true. Is this all for naught? Have I jumped from one sinking ship to another?
I am thinking about ministry. Not just thinking about it, I was accepted into the seminary of my choice and am preparing to start classes in the fall. I am sure you know where this is going. I don’t even have to Google search it. Voices are shouting about the state of the American church. They tell me the church is dying, right as I am ready to go all in.
Everywhere I run, I am headed toward dying things. Everything that I think I might love to do, people are warning me those things are dying. On my worst days, I am terrified. The slow dying of the classroom teacher has drained me. I feel myself walking around exhausted, half as much blood pumping through me as a person should really have. I feel the gasping for breath, the slowing of thought as I realize there isn’t enough oxygen to sustain me.
What if I really am headed to the next dying dream? What if what I want is on its last breaths too?
I think I wait. I think I sit. I think I stop being so afraid of the dying, and patiently watch the dying run its course. Why, I sometimes wonder, is a church built on resurrection so afraid of dying? If I’m a person who believes in resurrection dying means I’m just getting to the good part.
So yes, my life as I know it is dying. It is scary and painful and often much more than I can bear. But I don’t think the dying is the end. I am waiting patiently by this tomb. I believe I will witness resurrection.