Free at last, free at last…

Okay, so not exactly. We do have a ‘wrap meeting’ tomorrow afternoon. But for all intents and purposes, work is over until school starts up again on Jan 2. Today, we had cake and chaos as the kids were out of school at noon, just like we were, and were none to shy about expressing their enthusiasm for being beyond the reach of adult oversight, albeit a tad prematurely.

After cake, a goodly portion decided they simply couldn’t sit still any longer and signed out early, taking the Christmas presents and high-octane excitement with them. A few diehards stayed with Sarah and I to watch the end of Polar Express before being sent on their merry way.

The resulting quiet was like the nectar of the gods to my frazzled nerves. I am looking forward to a few weeks of it with what passes for desperate longing, although I don’t really have the energy left over to really pull that off to full effect.

“Now Soni,” you might be saying to yourself, “why so excited to get away from work? I thought you were all about saving the world and stuff. If that’s the case, then why do you want to get away from it so much?”

Well, let me tell you a dirty little secret about serving with Americorps…c’mon, come a little closer…closer…wait, that’s too close. Excuse me…

Okay, the secret is this – serving with Americorps is a JOB. Yes, given the fact that you’re working with a non-profit to improve the world around you, it’s most likely a very important and often inspiring job. But it’s still a job. And by this time of the year, you also know whether it’s a job you love, a job you hate or, like most jobs, a job that’s okay/meh, but that you don’t mind taking some time off from whenever you can.

If it’s like many Americorps positions, it’s also long, hard work against a relentless current of circumstances that are out of your control and that are trying to undo your work as fast as you can get it done. People get poor and threatened with homelessness faster than Habitat for Humanity can build houses, they get hungry and lonely and depressed faster than Meals On Wheels can deliver hot food and a cheerful smile, and they fall through the cracks faster than all of us put together can fill in the gaps.

It doesn’t make the work any less worth doing. On the contrary, it makes every day we can be there, every one we can reach out to and every hand we can grab a precious and worthwhile gem beyond price.

But damn, it’s good to get away once and a while. It’s nice to recharge your batteries in the arms of friends and family. It’s nice to sleep in until daylight actually rules the land and the cats start dramatically collapsing onto your face from starvation to get your attention. It’s nice to just sit on the porch wrapped in a soft blanket and spend the afternoon assimilating a good book, a glass of wine and the last bits of warm sunshine, while the neighborhood-adopted stray tomcat enthusiastically polishes off the last of the cat food you put out for him (which he’ll get to, as soon as he finishes what the other 3 tenants in the building have left out – damn cat eats better than I do. LOL!)

Anyway, it’s Christmas break and time for me to chill out for a few weeks and reabsorb some of the energy I’ve put into the job…er, service so far. I like the job just fine. But for now, I’m headed for a long-overdue spate of absolutely nothing, thank you very much.

I’ll probably check in tomorrow after the meeting, just to be thorough. But if I don’t, have a happy winter holiday of your choosing and an equally happy new solar circuit. 😀

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