Gratitude Celebration 43: Contribution

What a blessing to be a contribution. I had a very strong belief that what I had to offer would not be useful to anyone.  I didn’t think I could create my own program or school for my children. I believed that I had to join one that already existed. When we moved to Evansville, I had just heard about a school that sounded wonderful – Waldorf School. John found out that Becky Trela had a Waldorf daycare in New Harmony, 35 miles from our home.

I could take Adam there! Once a week, she had a playgroup, so I’d drive there and join in. I have no recollection that Adam had a good time, in fact, he may have already been too old for the program, so I just went on my own, first pregnant, and then with Simon. Actually, I don’t remember when I found out about Becky’s school, but it seems that it was right away.

Anyway, Becky gave me the experience of loving something and wanting to do it, and doing it herself, and me feeling that I couldn’t get it right, even though I tried, and feeling challenged and having beliefs that just didn’t fit.

One little drama that occurred was when I had created a puppet play for the fall celebration called Michaelmas. I had studied the Waldorf philosophy, at least what I could find, and thought my 10-minute play expressed it beautifully. Becky and her assistant, Alma wanted to see it in advance, so I obliged with an impromptu showing. As my last notes of song faded, they sat in stone silence. After a few long seconds, Becky said, “It’s a cute play, but the message is “problematic”. Not all of our mothers would accept it.”  I was stunned, because it seemed pretty innocuous to me!

 I left, thinking that my play had been rejected. On the day it had been scheduled to be shown at the end of playgroup, I left all the puppets at home. Becky, on the other hand, seemed frantic that I wasn’t prepared to share it, lamenting that she had been counting on that to fill the time! Oh my! “I can never get it right!” I said, and drove the 25 minutes back home, to get the props.  My sense of worthiness and compatibility and ability to contribute was so fragile and personalized! My need to commune with other moms for companionship kept me struggling to balanced this see-saw of contribution and compatibility!

The final separation came, however, when Becky moved the playgroup to Evansville. I was ostracized because one vocal woman was scared about vaccinations and lobbied for the school to require them, so I stopped going. I had chosen to avoid vaccinations and the school was providing no exemptions. Then I was on my own again.

Then there was Judy Leyden who believed in herself and her message and her organizational abilities and commitment to forge ahead with her own preschool, with criticisms, legal matters, and her own brand of fanaticism and institutionalism to make the thing run. That’s something that Becky and Judy did that I wasn’t willing to commit to – choosing a focus and fulfilling it.  I even went to some program on having a dream and saying there that what I wanted was a “nature school”. That was when we still lived in Washington, D.C. as an outgrowth of my work with Robert Fritz and his Path of Least Resistance.

I had my vision, but have lacked the personal commitment and leadership to carry out anything bigger than myself. Can I love myself for that? Can I love myself being a dreamer, a vision maker who falls short of fulfillment?

But, Maddie Miller and Lisa Hale, the principal and teacher at Harper Elementary School, where I resigned to enroll all three children, gave me a little opening to contribute with my own expression. They invited and supported me in bringing watercolor painting to Lisa’s class – 20 sessions! Then, Maddie Miller even paid me to do a session with her faculty. Sure, it was in fulfillment of her requirement to demonstrate that she had input from her community, but that’s ok with me. Then, two other teachers wanted me to paint with their classes. For a time, I enjoyed contributing with something that felt authentic to me!

I  thank Becky, Judy, Maddie, and Lisa for bringing form to their dreams and letting me participate in them, borrowing their canvas for a brief painting session of my big dream.

Posted in Sixty Years of Gratitude.

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