Stepping Away for a Moment

Over the years I’ve come to realize that whenever I’m stressed, frustrated, or just confused with a situation, the best thing that I can do is to put it down and step away for a couple minutes, hours, days.  Whenever a situation becomes the routine, we need a fresh perspective, so we step away from it all and come back later.  It works for writing.  For art.  And whenever I feel like snapping at my team.

Life in AmeriCorps is not easy.  Living in the same hotel room as three other guys (all younger and louder than me) can be frustrating.  Working with the same people that you live with is probably not the smartest idea, especially if you want to remain friends (or just don’t want there to be bloodshed).

Sometimes I question the decision to become a Team Leader, even with only 45 days remaining in the program.  It is one of the most stressful positions that I could have found myself in.  The responsibility can become a crushing weight that there is no escape from, that catches hold and, sometimes, I can’t seem to escape.

This past weekend was spring break, in which I left my team behind and headed home to hang out with my parents and spent some quality time with my girlfriend.  There were no plans.  No mandatory meetings.  No work.  It was peaceful.

In some way, I was able to catch my breath.  To find a couple moments to rally my thoughts.  To put things back into focus.  To prioritize what truly matters.

Part of me dreaded returning to my team.  For a moment, I entertained thoughts of not returning.  Of throwing in the towel and calling it quits.  It took a matter of moments before I put an end to those thoughts.  The time away gave me a fresh look at what needs to be done to not only survive, but finish the year with strength.

I figure we (Team Leaders) can either be crushed beneath the weight of our teams, or we can lead through example and face the challenges head on.

Yes, it is going to be rough.  We will get bloodied, beaten, and battered.  It’s not going to be easy.  It’s going to feel like all out war at times.  But we are here for each other and for our teams.  We have families and loved ones beside us, lifting us.  Giving us support when we need it the most.

I’m not going to lie when I say that I will probably find my breaking point. It’s hard to return after four days and find that the dishes that were not washed when I left were still in the sink.  Food covered the “clean” dishes on the dirty towel that had hardened and become encrusted with something unknown.  Clothes littered the floor.

But I take a breath and remind myself of the time that I had away.  I remember what is important and focus on the next challenge, the next day.

I guess it helps knowing that in just over a week, I will be returning home to hang out with my niece and nephew (the beebops), my sister and brother-in-law, my parents, family and friends.  It helps knowing that it wont be long before I receive the opportunity to hold the hand of an amazing, beautiful individual again.

Priorities.

Stepping away gave me the perspective that I needed to refocus.  And so I hunker down and charge back into the fray.

God Bless and PEACE

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