Poetry Month Day 10: The Work is Great

Today, I had the privilege of working again with other leaders from my Just Schools Cohort. Together, we’re working across districts to advance equity and justice in schools. This team of professionals…they’re amazing. And even on days where I feel discouraged about my own work, and my own progress, they are there to remind me that building a more just society is HARD. That we have a LOT of work to do. But that we can – and MUST – do it together. They inspire me.

It brings to mind a line from Pirkei Avot, a collection of Jewish teachings. Rabbi Tarfon said: “You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.” This Golden Shovel poem is my tribute to the incredible efforts of my colleagues.

Cathedral Rocks by Albert Bierstadt

When you stand at the base of a mountain, you
can’t ever see the top. Your feet are
just plunking down one after the other, not
knowing when-how-if they’ll arrive. They just know they’re obligated
by faith to
get you to a place where the work is complete
and whole and holy. The
temptation to be solitary in your work
is great, but
you know this journey is neither
easy nor short. So you are
going to need others with you,
others who know the only way to be free
is to
be strong, be strong, that our strength never allows us to desist
from the lifedream of reaching that mountain top, or from
the struggle of climbing it.

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5 Responses to “Poetry Month Day 10: The Work is Great”

  1. Tim Gels Says:

    So much of the work is a struggle, but having others labor alongside oneself helps things along–going it alone is a non-starter!

  2. Raivenne Says:

    There is a reason it is called work. Even when you enjoy the effort, most of the time, it is still an effort. The important things are rarely an easy endeavor, but always a worthy one.

    Those are very wise words in your golden shovel and you have used them both wisely and beautifully in your poem.

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