The international school life is much like movie life or theatre life, or circus life. It swirls around an extended production... everyone has varying degrees of importance and involvement, but good crews bond quickly and tightly if they are to synergize into a great story. Each picks up the pieces of their part and caries out their role usually to the best of their ability. Some stay longer than others, their time on the stage extended for one reason or another but sooner or later, the company disintegrates into separate parts, some returning for another run, some going their own ways to other parts, other roles. Then the process starts all over again. A life lived in one place is like that too.... only extended over a much longer period of time.
It's difficult to be away from those eternal relationships... parents, siblings, children, grandchildren. I have only been doing this for 2 + years... I cannot imagine how military people do it. I really dislike the heart wrenching videos about soldiers seeing their newborns for the first time, or showing up to surprise a child at school. I loathe the flood of tears and emotion because it means that something wicked has come physically and temporally between loved ones in this world. Sure the reunion is touching.... but my question is... why did the parting have to occur in the first place. Choice I guess. Both ours and the choices of others.
I made a choice. I don't fight in a real down and dirty bullets and bombs war, but I do see myself and some of my compatriots as warriors. We battle ignorance, and apathy, and we carry love and inspiration onto the battlefield of minds.
This world is quickly disintegrating. Some would deny this and say..."It has always been like this", but I don't think so. In my short tenure on this planet I have watched the changes. I can bear witness to the devolution of family and community. My own life bears this out. Perhaps it is because of this that we cling so dearly to friends and others in our proximity when we are apart from the familiar.
Now the holidays approach. I had a magnificent Thanksgiving meal with several dozen people. The food was stellar and the company comforting. Conversation was lively and laughter filled our host and hostesses home. I played Bannanagram and Boggle, I ate two kinds of pie and had second helpings of green bean and almond cassarole. The weather outside was blustery and the waves of the Atlantic crashed wildly, while inside we warmed ourselves with the company of something at least familiar to us all... a holiday of gratitude.
Relationships are so key to a life well lived. We need one another. Here on the campus of this international school, we know one another. We help one another. We visit, share meals, shed tears, pray, fight, love and sing with one another. I like that. I need it. A creature of natural solitude... nevertheless, my health and my quality of life depends on those around me being present, and me being present with them. I do like quiet, but I also love it when the phone rings and someone wants to go to dinner or shopping or for a walk.
Outside the desert winds howl and the rain beats down from chilly grey skies. The clock ticks.
The fireplace crackles. Christmas approaches the heart... and begs for relationship.