Worth it // Three



 I don't normally hold much stock in dream interpretation, but you know that, when one of your living heroes (Lin-Manuel Miranda) appears to you in a dream and hands you a library card to the greatest library system on earth (the New York Public Libraries), great things are in store for you that day.



Not long after this dream, I woke up to the sound of my alarm, (the "hey, hey, hey, hey" part of the Winter's Ball track of Hamilton if anyone's interested) and started my shortened morning routine. My normal long-form routine includes a full hour of sitting on the couch with my coffee and a book. Today that time was shortened to half an hour, as I had a 7:30 meeting in Humboldt with the advisory board of a newly forming reading/literacy foundation one of our patrons has felt burdened to start.

Sitting around the conference room table for this inaugural meeting at the central office of the Humboldt City Schools Board of Education, were: a preacher, a doctor, a retired banker and his (also retired) accountant wife,  the school superintendent, a principal, the chairperson for the local chapter of the Imagination Library, the school coordinator and myself, a children's librarian. Everyone was there because they had one common vision - to bring hope to the community of Humboldt through literacy.

As we talked through the vision of this foundation, and brainstormed the next steps for taking action in our schools, we were asked to consider our own lives had we not learned how to read. I thought about how I passed the "learn to read" stage well before the recommended developmental milestone of 3rd grade, and have been "reading to learn" ever since. I thought about the historical heroes I looked upon as a child, who were all made readers by their mothers and then taught themselves from books the rest of the way on - Abraham Lincoln, and (my childhood historical crush) Nathaniel Bowditch.  I thought about the man who's name is on the lips of every Broadway fan these days, my "bastard, orphan, immigrant" bae, Alexander Hamilton. I thought about what life would be like had they not learned to read. (Forget about Wall Street, I sure as heck wouldn't be having a dream featuring Lin-Manuel Miranda if Hammy-boy had been a 3rd-grade dropout)

One of the reasons why I write these Worth it posts, is because I often struggle with seeing my purpose where I am in my career stage of life. I'll lose my way, and stumble around discouraged in a dark cavern for a while, but then there are these moments that make it all worth it. They are a glimmer of light that illuminates my path for a brief moment, so that for a moment, I can again see where I am going. Today in that first board meeting of passionate citizens eager to lift up the next generations of readers, I saw one of my deepest and truest purposes for my being right here, right now. I have a vision, not only for the next year of library programs, but for this entire season of my life. And boy, is it worth it.

*I write these Worth It posts as a gratitude log of sorts, to look back on when I'm feeling frustrated and antsy and want to run away. It is a prompt for mindfulness, a dose against dis-content, and a reminder of purpose.

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