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Have you ever loved an earthly possession so much you couldn’t fathom getting rid of it?  Star Wars Figurines?  Favorite Sweaters?  Jimmy Choo High Heels?  Barbies?

My worldly possession was the books I adored as I learned about education – the passion that saved my life when I was 28.  I found my place in education.  I found that children made me happy.  I loved my colleagues.  I discovered that I loved teaching and learning.  I found my home.

These books were coveted as I moved from place to place; these books were my cornerstone.  “Schools that Work,”  “Professional Learning Communities,”  “Every School, Every Team, Every Classroom”  Oh, and don’t forget the books that the authors signed – Robert Marzano, Beverly Carbaugh, Richard Dufour.  These books led to binders of articles and data that were analyzed, all in hopes of making a difference in the lives of children.  To break those cycles – cycles of poverty, abuse, and addiction. All those binders.  All those books.

But then, has your world ever stopped?  Shifted?  Doors slammed shut?

Yep.  That happened.  I had hard times before.  Divorce.  Single parenting.  Surgeries. Moving.  But nothing prepared me for the last four years.  Losing both parents, being accused of something untrue and not having a voice, losing an organ (ok, appendicitis is not losing a “real organ), and COVID!  I’m not sure what preparation would have helped, but these last four years have been interesting.  All that I thought I knew has been morphed into “maybe it was a great foundation for all the things yet to come.”  

You know the bible verse, “Be still and wait.”  Well, I’ve waited.  And waited.  And waited. I’ve been still (kind of).  We have skied, cooked, hiked, cleaned, horseback rode, 4-wheeled, traveled, and read.  I’ve read a lot.   I have new favorite authors and genres.  Oh, and I’ve slept.   I finally slept.  After years of work, school, kids, and more work, school, and kids, I finally sleep.  

In all the waiting, I have hoarded my earthly treasures.  My books.  12 LARGE boxes of books.  Books that I read, loved, used, highlighted, and wrote notes in the margins have been stored neatly downstairs for the last four years until…….. Today.  I did it.  I began opening one box after the other, smelling, opening the pages, and remembering all the good memories.  I then remembered all the crap my sister and I had been purging of our mothers and began sorting, keeping only my favorites.  Down to one treasured box filled with books, but also a few keepsakes from the past.  Pictures of the students I taught, letters from a few favorites, magazine articles dear to me, and three awards that mean the most.

Then, I did it.  I went to the Smith’s parking lot with the “Recycle Books Here” bin, and I filled it up.  I opened the boxes and cried as I threw book after book into the recycle bin.  As I broke down the last book box, I realized I had one box left of binders and random stuff, so I headed for the trash bins in our neighborhood.  As I drove there, I continued to listen to one of my favorite authors in an audible book.  It’s a great book.  So, I arrive and continue to listen to the book while I open the tailgate of my truck.  I start with the first binder and see the year and the great work our team did.  It infuriates me, so I open the pages and begin throwing it against the trash bin.  It feels so GOOD!  I get another binder.  Open it and throw it against the bin.

Then two things happen all at once.  The book I’m listening to switches to another book I’m halfway through, “The Book of Revelation Decoded,” and the author loudly proclaims, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy and where thieves break in and steal.” Matthew 6:19 

The Lord stopped me in my tracks and released the anger to resolve; then, I heard another noise.  A “vermin” that was in the trash the entire time peeks her sweet head out of the garbage, looks at me as if to say, “Are you done throwing things at me?” and joins me for the rest of my endeavor.  She eventually lays down and watches.  She never left me, hissed, or ran; she just joined me in the sadness, joy, and knowing it was the right time.  So again, the verse rings true, “Be still and know that I am God.”