4:48 PM, First-Day-of-School-Eve

It is quiet. It is loud.

Hours ago, we were smiling and shaking hands at meet-the-teacher like half-trained politicians. We laughed too loud, had myriad awkward social situations. (I almost tripped Andy. ) Children rushed about on orientation scavenger hunts and colleagues huddled around copy machines like cold warriors around a fire in the darkening evening. We did not know whether to exchange pleasantries in summer-mode or acknowledge the sweaty-palm-urgency of the situation.

We have written syllabi and created Google Classrooms and updated MySA bulletin boards and posted weekly plans (HA) and scoured thousands of AI-policies. We have put names on desks and supplies in cubbies and labels on things. We have googled and pinterest-ed and teacher tik-tok’d our way into witty puns and ice breakers and anchor charts and some of us have managed to relax because we’ve done this a time or two and these are the days for resting, not running.

Mostly, we imagine the humans, the faces, the souls that will populate our classrooms. We make room for all of the noise and smells and mistakes and brilliance they will inevitably bring with them, the glory of the odor and the chaos of the beauty. We make space, too, for the absolute truth that in no way will all of our best-laid plans succeed this week. Hitting about 45-65% of what we hope to cover is a relatively optimistic estimate, for me anyway.

I think of the prayer I love that I heard from Revs. Annie & Hailey, the one that sends shivers up and down my spine in a way that signals, to me, a not-so-subtle-God-whisper: “PAY ATTENTION JULIE YOU NEED THIS.”

It is night after a long day.
        What has been done has been done;
        what has not been done has not been done;
        let it be.

This is true at night.

This is true in the afternoon, and morning, and . . .

This will be true at the end of this semester, this school year.

I wonder if I can let it be.

There is another stanza, the final stanza to “A Night Prayer”:

The night heralds the dawn.
        Let us look expectantly to a new day,
        new joys,
        new possibilities.


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