I’m Gonna Carry On

“Before it all moves on 

And only I’m left

Before the parade passes by 

I’ve gotta get in step while there’s still time left

I’m ready to move out in front

Life without life has no reason or rhyme left

With the rest of them

With the best of them

I wanna hold my head up high

I need a goal again

I need a drive again

I wanna feel my heart coming alive again

Before the parade passes by.”

Those words penned by the magnificent Jerry Herman from the musical, “Hello, Dolly” have become my anthem.  

After the wreck, I had to quit my job.  It’s a long story and there are many details.  I’ll spare you. I’m always amused when people talk about how they can’t wait to retire.  Let me tell you a little something I’ve learned about “retirement.” “Retirement” is great . . . if you have your health, money, and a purpose.

I graduated from college and taught school until I had children.  I left teaching and stayed at home to raise the children. (I actually had a few people ask what I did all day when I stayed home with my two preschoolers.  Insert laughing emoji!) When my youngest went to school, I did too, subbing at their school. I then moved into children’s ministry. And then my family wrecked.

After the wreck there were moments when I was desperately needed at home and then there were long, long stretches where I was not needed.  Until I was desperately needed again. When my daughter went to college, I was thrilled for her, but what became of me? What did I do with my life?  How did I pour into others? I mean, I’ll clean and cook with the best of them, but I needed some interaction with humans, particularly some fun interaction with humans.

I assure you, Dear Reader, teaching 5th grade provides interaction with humans.  Most of it is fun, some of it is not, and all of it is difficult, yet incredibly rewarding.  And in my world, where the weight of paralysis and its ramifications press down on me daily, I now have another focus.  I have a whole group of students I love. I have a whole group of people to pour life into. Together, we work on reading and math and American history, but we also work on getting along, living in a difficult world, and trying to make wise choices and choosing joy.  

Going back to teaching actually makes my daughter’s paralysis more bearable.  

“When the parade passes by

Pardon me if my old spirit is showing

All of those light over there

Seem to be telling me where I’m going.

When the whistles blow

And the cymbals crash

And the sparkler light the sky

I’m gonna raise the roof

I’m gonna carry on

Give me an old trombone

Give me an old baton

Before the parade passes by.”

There’s power in purpose.  There’s power in joy. There’s power in carrying on.  And I’m grateful to students, and their parents, and my colleagues, and a wonderful God who makes that all possible!

Until the next Wednesday, the Lord allows.