In less than 40 days ( teaching days) I will be ending a career of 30 years in the classroom and begin my sequel. The next chapter of my life is a blank page waiting to be filled with dreams, next steps and most importantly looking to God to fill in the white spaces with the story He has chosen for me.
I purposely waited until after Spring Break to tell my 3rd graders that I am retiring at the end of this school year. I wanted the timing to be right, the telling to be perfect and the emotions of all this feels like to be under control. I wanted to create a setting that relayed exactly how I was feeling and that morning, in a split second God moment, I knew I needed to read Oh The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Suess. I am so thankful that I work with a wonderful school librarian who immediately found the book and sent it my way. As I began to read the book, I lifted up a quick prayer that the right words would follow.
What seemed like seconds later, I had finished reading the book and now needed to follow up with my story – my blessing of having been a teacher for 30 years – my gratefulness that they were the last class that I would have the honor to teach. The classroom was silent as I explained that on the last day of school as they left to move onto a new building, I was also leaving never to return again. Understanding and questions followed but most knew that retirement was an ending and I had the chance to begin again doing something else. Grabbing this teachable moment, I provided writing paper in the shape of a suitcase for the students to predict what I will do next in retirement. These brought smiles, laughter and some tears as the reality settled in and began to take hold. Here are some of their responses…
When Ms. Geisen retires, I predict she will…
- be a chef in Ireland
- be a rich person
- be an author and illustrator
- go to Florida
- have fun with her family
- go and see her son
And the list goes on. There were several responses about making brownies so guess what I’ll be doing for my class before the last day???
You might be wondering at this point why I am sharing this with all of you since I am surely not the first person who has ever retired. Here are some quotes from Oh The Places You’ll Go to clarify:
Dr. Seuss assures the reader that life can be tricky but success is almost 100% guaranteed. May I pause there and redirect you just a little? Life is full of challenges and success and for me this is all because God is the director of my journey and I couldn’t be more sure than when He is leading the way. He chose my story and continues to write it out as the next steps unfold. God knows the plans for my future and I just need to listen and be prepared to embrace what’s next.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13
The journey ahead is unknown but the Author of All will be leading and guiding. I pray each step will draw me closer to God.
When life’s endings open up the possibilities of new beginnings, who do you turn to to direct your next steps?
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