I'm not a high-school teacher any more.
Wednesday, we had our last faculty meeting. I made my final contributions to some decisions upon which the faculty needed to concur; the faculty went to the field for their traditional post-last-meeting softball game, and I said some quiet goodbyes.
The last thing I did before I left was to burn one of my business cards, in a moment alone. As I watched it burn, I said quietly, "Sic transit gloria mundi." Latin for "Thus passes worldly glory," it's something they warn the Pope-to-be before he is officially made the pontiff. They lower his processional sedan chair to the ground, and raise a piece of burning flax on a spear, to remind him that this... none of this... lasts.
The students are gone, the final meetings have been concluded. I still have to do the final clean-out of what was my office for twelve years; and then, it's really over.
Now, you're probably looking at the title of this blog, and asking yourself, "How is this, this farewell, this major change of life, a 'gift' of M.S.?"
I think the only answer is... it needed to happen. Because somehow, I needed my relationship with that place, with that career, to change. I needed that part of my life to get out of my way... Because something else needs to happen, something that simply could not happen, as long as I was stuck in that life.
What needs to happen? I don't know what, yet. Big-picture-wise, at least.
I do know, however, that there are a few specific things that need to happen.
Shaking off the past.
Probably not in that order... Oh hell. I need to admit it—Certainly not in that order. Forgiveness needs to come first... and that's probably (certainly) going to be the most difficult.
But each of those will also be gifts... gifts that I give myself. Gifts that I might never have given myself, were it not for the disease, and the roads that it took me down whether I wanted to travel them or not.
'Course, there's the misbehaving bladder, too... how I'm going to perceive that as a gift of M.S., I don't know. Yet.
But, as you've heard me say many, many times... the M.S. road can surprise you by being just-plain funny. And, really... a mis-behaving bladder?
If you can't laugh at that, you're in even more trouble.
And in the midst of soul-wrenching troubles... sometimes laughter is the most wonderful gift of all.
Thus passes... something...
Now, you gotta admit, that's funny. See what I mean?