“My soul languishes for your salvation; I hope in your word.” -Psalm 119:81 (NRSV)
On March 9th, the staff of Skagit Valley College received word that the campus was being closed for a week of deep cleaning after some CNA students were doing rounds at a nursing home with positive COVID patients and also on-campus the same week. This was a shock, but my boss and her counterpart had come up with a contingency plan. We all got a quick tutorial on Zoom and were then expected to jump in and work with our students online. I had used Zoom twice before, so I was having to figure out what I was doing on the fly. I also had no idea if I would have a job a few weeks later when Spring Break ended and Spring Quarter began.
I soon found that I had nothing to fear because my boss decided to assign me to students who suddenly needed to increase their basic computer skills or needed help getting themselves organized. I ended up working with students in classes that I would have loved to take if I had any spare time as a student, and I had to learn ways of working with students that did not involve me being there in person. I developed worksheets for practicing things in Word, corrected papers for people, learned how to explain things verbally (a challenge because I am a visual person), and learned how to ask open-ended questions. I pored over instructors’ shells on Canvas and had to overcome my shyness to contact instructors and ask to be added as an observer to know what was coming up in those classes ahead of time. Quarters passed, I got a new boss, and I started feeling hopeful again because I had something to do for work that was life-giving for me. I became the person who would take the unusual classes for my boss and found ways to work with students to meet their needs and help them develop that same hope.
A job that I got as a student and held after graduation for flexibility reasons ended up saving my sanity and probably saving my life as well as I had something to motivate me to get up in the morning.
Lord, thank you for fulfilling work and things that fill our time while feeding our souls. Amen.