Ah yes, the smell of lysol wipes, the empty lockers, the bare walls, the look of weary, hurried teachers. After 165 days, the school year is complete. Endings feel strange. I realized this year that I have worked almost 9 months with my colleagues and yet do not feel that I have made a friend. Sure--I talk pleasantly and happily with my colleagues everyday. But as my coworkers talk excitedly about the new members on their summer shuffleboard team and make plans to hang out on the week-ends, I just kind of stare out the window, wipe another desk down with lysol, and wish the awkward moment away.
It is okay if I am not friends with everyone. I am not deprived of friendship, and I am so thankful for the friends God has placed in my life. But still, I feel sad when I realize I am on the fringes at work. I try to think of the reasons for this--maybe because I don't keep up with the latest fashions or dye my hair? Maybe because I don't swear after the kids are gone for the day? Maybe because I am an "aide" and not a teacher? Or worse yet, maybe others simply find me dull.
I do not know. And I am trying not to care. But in a strange way, I feel like I am in Junior High again-- looking to fit in and be accepted. I know that Jesus talks about this in the gospels: "If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world." And these words bring me comfort.
But I am still trying to discern if I am coming across as cold and aloof to my co-workers. If that is the case, I am not being rejected because of Jesus, but because of my own behavior toward others. If that is true, I hope that I can be more outgoing next year and initiate more conversations with my colleagues. However, if that is not the case, then I hope I can just forget about it and give it over to God. Thankfully, I have a week before I go back for summer school. A week that I plan to use connecting with friends and filling up my self-worth bucket.