Sometimes I miss the Teacher’s Lounge. Okay, wait, let me back up – that’s not gonna make any sense. This has been bugging me since yesterday, so now all of my lucky readers get to hear about it. Tada… congratulations! Anyway… so yesterday I was feeling a little worn out from a long week of working hard, a little sick (my throat was a teensy bit sore), and was just having an all-around bad day. Hey, it happens to the best of us! I mean, it doesn’t matter how perfect your job is – you’re still going to have frustrating moments – and it doesn’t matter how wonderful your family is – you’re still going to get fed up every now and then. You know what I mean? So anyway, I had the bright idea to talk to my co-worker about it…. Bad idea. Really terrible. Instead of just letting me vent away, he kept interrupting me to remind me how awesome things are and how “I’m just such a cheerful person.” Well, he kind of had me there. For as long as I can remember I’ve been one of the most cheerful of the bunch. In college one guy told me, “You’re always so happy, I want you to be my alarm clock so you can wake me up every morning!” I thought this was funny… at the time. Of course, not everyone has such a positive reaction – cheerfulness is an acquired taste, I guess. One girl said, “I just can’t talk to you. You’re chipper, and I don’t do chipper.” Well, so, I’ve always kind of enjoyed being the happy, idealistic, positive guy – and yeah, even chipper – that everyone can count on. But that’s just the thing. People start to count on you so much to be the positive voice in the room, that suddenly they act like it’s a crime for you to have a crabby day. But seriously guys, how realistic is it that everyone is going to feel perfectly happy all the time? It’s just not human… Doesn’t the Bible say “for everything there is a season?” It doesn’t come out and say it, but I’d like to think that hidden somewhere in between the lines it means, “There is a time for whining and a time for getting stuff off your chest – as long as you keep it short!” So. Now. Where was I? Oh yea h – so I just really wanted to complain a little yesterday. I didn’t say anything atrocious or anything that would put my job in jeopardy – I was basically just confessing that I had been having a frustrating day. Is that such a crime? But like I said, I was cut off and told to be “calm and cheerful” again. Have you ever seen that show, Stepford Wives? It kind of felt like that, where I was surrounded by perfect Stepford robots who never do anything wrong or have a single negative thought. And instead of feeling better, I just walked away feeling ticked. It’s impossible to be perfect all the time – nobody can pull that off! Every once in a while I really think it’s okay to let people see a few of the tiny little chinks in your armor… they’ll probably even appreciate it, and end up super relieved that you’re not the “Stepford Robot” they thought you were! So… back to the Teacher’s Lounge. While I was teaching I would hang out in the Teacher’s Lounge, where all anyone did was complain and vent their frustrations. At first I thought, “I’ve gotta get out of here –this place is way too negative!” But after a while, I saw the beauty of it. After putting up with middle school kids day after day, the teachers needed a place to vent so they could hold on to some shred of their sanity! And the Lounge gave them a place to not only get everything off their chest, but to do it in a place where nobody thought they were crazy and where people actually understood what they were going through and said, “Yep… I was right there with you… like, five minutes ago!” So like I said… sometimes I miss that Teacher’s Lounge. Moral of the story? Stop trying to convince your friends and family that being a Christian means they have to be perfect… it does more harm than good. Let them vent, and realize that they don’t need advice or a mini-lecture… they just need to get this stuff out in the open. That’s it! Luckily, I went home last night and unloaded all this on my wife. She smiled, probably thinking “Yep, you do this to me all the time,” but she didn’t say anything. She just listened, because she understands that venting is a healthy thing. So, long story short… friends let friends have bad days. And right now I’m feeling pretty lucky that I have a friend – a best friend – who lets me have one every once in a while. Oh. Wait a sec. I was talking about my wife, but another thought just hit me. I also have a Friend – a Best Friend (closer even than a brother) – who also knows how to listen when I pray, and how to let me have a bad day. Maybe the Teacher’s Lounge isn’t long gone after all!
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”
Writing 101 Day 19 Challenge: Today is a free writing day. Write at least four-hundred words, and once you start typing, don’t stop. No self-editing, no trash-talking, and no second guessing: just go. Bonus points if you tackle an idea you’ve been playing with but think is too silly to post about.