"Can I not just stay in my office to do all the checking of this pile of IQ tests?"
"The kids want to know their scores ASAP. They're around the office every hour from last Thursday when the test was given to them and they're driving me nuts!"
Once again, I mumbled a few more lines. Hoping my wish will be granted.
The following day -- which is today. I arrived late in school. 5 minutes late. My 2nd time of being late this week.
"Beating the deadline and yet I am always late."
"Hell! They can't blame me. I am supposed to go home at 4:30 pm but I work my butt out until 6:00 pm."
"I am supposed to be reviewing for the board exam for Counselors this August and finishing my thesis but I bring home a bunch of paperworks for the school's accreditation."
"Duh! I am supposed to be out of here but I chose not to."
All these ran through my mind in a second.
"So you think that gave you all the right to be late and not attend the first Friday mass?" whispered the better side of me.
I was flapping through my ears to drive away the little voices making a good argument in defense of my almost splitting personality, when a student bumped through me...
"That was it? That was all you can say? I am in a hurry with all my worries and sorry is all you can say?"
I thought I was shouting, but I was just staring blank at the kid. Then I gathered myself.
I head on...
"C'mon, Fr. Pati is saying the mass."
Upon hearing the priest's name, I just dumped my bag inside my drawer, combed my hair a bit, checked on my gloss, got my fan and went with the flow of people to the school's covered court where mass is celebrated.
And so the sermon goes...
It was like being transported to that event when I was deciding for my future -- my family's future.
Fr. Pati concluded, "...so to you elected leaders, not just be leaders, be servant leaders and responsible stewards of creation. To the administrators, the teachers, the non-teaching personnel and you dear students, as you re-affirm your commitment of being co-creators of God, let your heart be where the greater need you most."
"Like the little prince taming the fox, anything you tame, is your responsibility. Anything that grows familiar to you is your responsibility..." his words echoing -- travelling through my ear's canal to the message center of my brain, striking the chambers of my heart.
I did not stay for money. I did not stay for comfort. I did not stay for fear of the unknown. I decided to stay because this is where my heart is -- the place where I know the greater need me most.
I decided to stay because I have tamed the world of guidance and counseling to work best for my benefit and the people I work with and the children I work for.
I decided to stay because I have grown familiar with the colorful, yet mysterious world of children with special needs.
Yes, I stayed because one girl was crying in my cubicle last week. She said her mother have grown further away from her.
I stayed because another teenager fell in love and she is so confused with how she feels. Will she give in or not?
I stayed, yet for another girl who sobbed over her sentiments -- telling me her parents don't notice her efforts in dancing and just wanted to sleep and never to wake up.
I stayed because a young man needs me this year to listen to him while his soul is dying -- his very own parents as the criminal.
I decided to stay for a sixteen year old child with autism, who with all the wealth in the world needs an eye to watch over him when he sleeps.
I decided to stay for a nine year old girl who doesn't care how she looks like and reads the alphabet backwards.
I decided to stay for an eight year old boy with ADHD who feels so frustrated he wants to cut his fingers that they stop fidgeting altogether.
I committed myself to stay because I have tamed them. They have grown familiar with my voice, my touch, my scent and even with that little strictness in my aura.
I have accepted the challenge.
I have accepted them.
THEY ARE MY RESPONSIBILITY!
“Nothing you do for children is ever wasted. They seem not to notice us, covering, averting our eyes, and they seldom offer thanks. But what we do for them is never wasted.”
Garrison, Keillor, 2000
This was my opening phrase in my acknowledgement page in my thesis... and so I live with it.