Sometimes life puts you through very hard times.
People are not there to support you. Even if they are, many of their human’s parts that you needed as supporting system, doesn’t exist for you in your needy time. But still, God sends you there for a reason. And you will never really leave that condition until you understand the lesson. Sometimes it’s true… Your life is not about giving to anyone or anything. Even the act of giving itself is actually the way to acquire something worthy for our own sake, like lessons. It’s just it takes time to understand, how God leads you to be who you are today by putting you through thousands sacrifices, million drops of tears, and ages to understand the truly meaning of “becoming”.
Despite the wounds I got from my life in my previous job, I admit, there with all the persons engaged, I’ve learned so many lessons. One of them, is becoming a bravehearted person. I simplify that term only to the exact way of taking the risk. The tiny risk even…
I used to be someone who hates doing mistakes. I felt bad when I didn’t go through the most efficient way. And I kept regret my doings that didn’t go as well as expected. I was so afraid of being a failure. So afraid of doing something wrong.
Then… By times and my social interaction in there, I noticed something precious that many people have understood it so much earlier : mistakes are essential parts of learning.
#flashback : Sponge Bob, Where Were You?
The place I am talking is an educational institution. It is a natural primary school in my current town. I was joining that school unintentionally actually. It was in a meeting when I first met the owner of the school. Not the chief, but the chief’s husband, the owner of the school’s capital. He is a good man, a very kind and friendly, a truthful and intelligent one. A very good listener, and a careful talker, and by the way surprisingly, he is one of my previous boss’ good acquaintance who has already heard good things about me so long before that conversation flowing.
It was in ramadhan 2013. The night fallen, and people left the room one by one. Left there 4 persons, my and friend, and he with our friend. As I told you, this man was joining the humanitarian institution that I left about a year earlier already. As for longering the talk and coincidentally (*if coincidence really exist) we four, were going to the same direction. He offered to take us along. And there we were, in his car to go home. We had a long talk, and that was the time he was introducing me about his school. Before parting, he asked me to send him my CV. As someone passionate in writing who met someone who has travelled parts of this world for humanitarian reasons, I came to the point where I thought, maybe that CV would be useful somehow in his hand. Then we exchanged mobile number, and the next day I sent him what he requested the night before.
I didn’t think he would sent it to HR of his school. And suddenly they called me for an interview. I felt so amazed, because I never had a slight glance of joining his school. Yet it’s true that for answering one of his questions that night, I informed that I’d just recently visit a natural primary school in town for just inquiring how the life went in there. Yet it was true that I used to think to be a part of educational field to give myself a better understanding about children and character building. But still, I had no idea at all to join his institution. Even, that’s the first time I heard about that school.
But still, I came at least to fulfill the previous invitation to meet and talk with his wife, who is the chief of institution. To shorten the story, after having a very long informal talk with the HR and the institution’s chief, and wandering around every corner of the school, I agreed to try. And there I were for two years. Hiding behind trees and coarse grasses. Intensely meeting with the dragonflies, grasshoopers, butterflies, cassavas, and guava trees. Talking with cats, hearing the kwek-kwek song, and special voice of tokek‘s (a reptilian family). Performing a very simple life, far from the madding crowd, and starting a new path of learning : children’s life.
I was a very distant person, from most of people, moreover from the kids. It was always better for me to be with so much older persons (since my early years in life) rather than to be with kids. I didn’t know what to do with them. I didn’t know the way to communicate with children. That’s the utmost reason for me to take the opportunity to engage in a primary school so full of children. I needed to know how get along with children. Yeah, and for those two years, I spent all the laughters and tears in that distant place.
#back to the story : Me and All Mistaken Things
Nothing special about mistaken things. There will be always some unappropriate situations, unfit persons, bad working partners, unsupported environment, and so on. And as usual, our lif goes on…
But, what I’m highlighting here, is not about those external parties. It’s about something hidden inside me. My way of feeling when something goes wrong. My way of thinking when I do mistaken things. My perspective in seeing terrible, terrific, and plain things/persons/situations in life. It’s me who has been changes so many.
In that school, I learned that being so friendly with dirty things is very nice experience. Mud, dirt, insects, soil, sweat, eating on back side of banana leaves together with a number of persons, tasting little fried grasshoopers, and having a hole in your left sock after being hurt by a naughty nail on the floor, yet still have to carry on the classroom teaching agenda, were very wonderful stories. Nothing perfect in there. Literally nothing. Some unperfect things were indeed wonderful as I described. And some others, like encountering bad people who ask too much, living under unfit management, having bad partners, living under overloaded pressure while you have to develop yourself-your partners-and your children at the same time… Oh really,,, I assure you, that it was very exhausting.
When I first met my first year children, who were in grade 5, I was so nervous about everything. I didn’t know single thing about children, early years development, class management, study materials, how to develop good relationship with children, and so on. I was confused, from which point I should deal with first. I knew nearly nothing. And FYI, this is a natural school. A school that intends their student to be a skillfull longlife learner, enriched with a good capacity in critical thinking and independency.
It was in an outbound session after several days passed away and doomed to the ground, where I first realized that I couldn’t ever be their teacher (-which then I knew, I never meant to). They knew too much compare to mine. They knew how to use compass, how to cook nasi liwet. They knew how to build a tent, maybe not all of them could do it, but still they ever got in touch with those activities. Some of them were so good in rigging arrangement. They were familiar with the tracking track, school routines, school regulation, with the parents council, they knew so many things if I couldn’t say “everything”. How could I be so proud of myself to teach them how to fly? In fact, they all already had the wings by the time I was only a paper plane. That time, I learned my first lesson : they were not merely students, they were my full resources to learn.
I started to ask how to do this and this… How usually they carried this activity or that routine… I started to ask and ask… About how they felt, how they saw the world, how they thought about a particular situation. I was their student. And everything in our relationship day by day started to smoothly flow. We became friends, became teacher-students at another time. I learned to become a big sister, and somehow, a (malpractice) parent. I cried with them, be honest to them, asked for forgiveness and took what it takes to mend the mistakes, I hurt them, being hurted by them, I scold them, being criticized by them. Back and forth. Yet, we learned. We developed. Nothing perfect and nothing we went through without falsehood, without wounds. And I tried, that time, to start thinking. It’s not the mistake that mattters, but the lesson we learned that matters the most. All the clashes among us led us sit together and discuss, “was it the good way? did we carry good intention?did I do right or maybe I (me and my children) did wrong?” and on…
#the playdough drama
In my first week probation, my homeroom teacher was confused about when to buy a playdough. She was so busy that week, and the playdough should be with us immediately. She was talking to herself about when to do, calculating her agendas, then I cut and offered myself to take over that tiny work. She asked me for sure, and I still said yes.
After school hours, on a very usual afternoon, I went here and there seeking for playdough. I wasn’t familiar with kid’s toys. Didn’t know where to find it. I just doing some errand in one, two, three department stores in town. Then I found the one I was looking for with a ready stock in my last department store. I purchased the toy delightfully then went to another big store in that building to buy one or two things. As usual, I was doing some errand, again. Always again and again during all shopping session. Then… I found something so terrible for me (that time) : a set of playdough with a bigger size and cheaper price than the one I bought. Ouuppsss….
You know, I always think that I should spend people’s money (I mean the money that belongs to some organization, some kind of project or activity, some people who trusted it to you, and alike) very wisely. “This is for the sake of greater good! It should be spent thoughtfully, transparantly, accountably, and all the ideal terms to refer the act of being trustworthy.” Oohh man, I was so hard to myself that day, really! I felt and a bit shameful of not carefully enough searching for the entire mall before purchasing. I said to myself, “oh anggun! You should be more patience. Don’t you know, this money is students’ parents possession that they entrusted to be managed well by the classroom teacher, that in this case, entrusted to you. If you were bought this one and not that one, we can save the rest for other students’ payments. And blablablaaa…..” I didn’t stop hurting myself with that kind of thought till the next day.
The next day’s coming. I met my classroom teacher and handed over the playdough. I said to her that I was very much apologize for my falsehood in spending that money. She plainly smile and said, “it’s okay.” I still felt terrible and I told her I was annoyed of that act. And she asked me why. And I answer this to her, “because I don’t like to do wrong!” and she said, “then so what if you did wrong?”
The talk was cut on that statement. I forgot what we do next, but seems like not too relevant with the red line of this story. I only noticed that this situation remained so deep in my mind, even till now, three years after. That’s the first time I realized, that it was a very good question, “so what, if you did wrong?”
Wrong doings are not always a falsehood. You never intended to do so, anggun. And really, you did your best! I didn’t come to this understanding right after the day was over obviously. It took so many times and countless trial sessions for me to integrate the value of that Q-A derrived from that situation.
I remember, there were so many hurting words of people who asked me to do more and compare me to persons whom they thought doing better than me (in fact, wasn’t – but only the internal family of the school knows who really working things out). I cried and felt deeply hurted. I thought that the words maybe true and felt more hopeless. That I should be more this and that. Again, I was being so hard to myself. And this “she”, the previous classroom teacher who asked me that hitting question long ago, said something to me… “oohhh my… She compared you to that person? Hahahaha … (cynically laughing) come on anggun, did you do your best?” I nodded. Then she continued, “so just let it be. As long as you’ve already given all your best to accomplish things, then let the result be the result.”
When I got to home on that same day, she sent me an image contained a wise word, “sky needs not to tell anyone that it is high.” I am afraid I lost the picture, but the message still linger.
Every of us does mistakes. We’re all full of wrong doings. But what truly distinguishes us, is the reason behind it. Are we intend to do so or not? Are we aware when we do something bad? Are we in the situation that drives us into hard choices? Have we or have we not tried to do our best to avoid any negative impacts? And bla and bla and bla…. There are too many ingredients to count in every person’s action and preference.
There are so lots of circumstances that affect our life choices, and sometimes, several of them turns to be a bad ones. We regret. We cried. Hard to accept. But as wise person said, “falling leaves hide the path so quietly.” When we tend to focus on the falling leaves, maybe precisely in that time, we’re unaware to read the real message of life. But it’s also okay, because also in the same time, we’re on our long journey to understand our life’s real story. We learn, we grow. And it takes time.
Depok, 29th of July 2016
19.32 (GMT +7)
For alll the laughters and tears, Anggun Nadia Fatimah