While it’s true that someone can impede our actions, they can’t impede our intentions and our attitudes, which have the power of being conditional and adaptable. For the mind adapts and converts any obstacle to its action into a means of achieving it. That which is an impediment to action is turned to advance action. The obstacle on the path becomes the way.
— Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 5.20
During our time away from school, I have been reading Meditations from Marcus Aurelius. I have found a great deal of appreciation for these writings. It has helped to discover that the things we are struggling with today, people have struggled with for thousands of years. The passage that starts this post is one that I have kept in my thoughts regularly.
Obstacles are a fact of life. If the past few months have taught me anything it is that things will happen that will be contrary to my plans. Returning to school is scary, for a lot of reasons. There is a great deal of anxiety as we get back into the building with students. I do not claim to know the best way to address this concern, but I know who I am managing the stress for- myself.
I was reminded of this idea as I was on a walk this past week. The heat of the summer was oppressive. I quickly jumped in my mind to complaining about the heat. But, I caught myself in these thoughts and I reminded myself that heat is what makes summer, summer. We are fortunate to live in a location that provides us the opportunity to experience different seasons. The heat of summer, the beauty of fall, the chill of winter, and the rebirth of spring. All seasons provide a different opportunity to experience something new. And, if there is a season you do not enjoy, too bad, it is going to happen anyway, but you know that it won’t last forever. Disliking the cold of winter doesn’t make winter not come. But, the cold of winter, makes you appreciate the warming of spring even more. The heat of summer makes you appreciate the brisk days of fall and winter. We too often forget during the heat of July that we, only a few months prior, most likely complained about being too cold.
So, here is what I have come to. Many in our community have been considered to be essential personnel and have been required to return to work. Some may have never stopped working even in the days after March 12th, and I appreciate them greatly. Those in food services, grocery stores, and other community-based organizations have sacrificed to keep our community moving forward. If you have gone to the store and bought food for your family, or an item that simply makes you happy, then you have come into contact with people who have not stopped helping things to run smoothly for the community and the world as the pandemic has been raging around them this whole time as well. I simply believe that it is now my turn to be that person and step up to serve my community’s needs. I signed up to serve, so I will serve.
I know this year will bring many challenges, but those obstacles are the way. ”For the mind adapts and converts any obstacle to its action into a means of achieving it…. The obstacle on the path becomes the way.” I know coming back is a choice of faith and dedication. Thank you for your trust you give to our team and our school. It is time again to put our mission into motion.