In the faith tradition in which I was raised, we regularly sang the hymn Count Your Blessings. They say that you learn much of your theology through the music of your faith, and this hymn clearly made an impact on me. To this day, despite having left that particular faith tradition behind, I believe in counting my blessings rather than my woes.
In the spirit of that old hymn and the gratitude that it calls folks to, I thought I would count some of my professional blessings as we recover from the Deep Freeze.
- I’m grateful for colleagues who are friends. As friends, we check on each other (as we did via text last week), we laugh with each other, we mourn with each other, we sometimes roll our eyes at a shared bit of amusement, we celebrate with each other, we ask for help from each other, and we hold each other accountable for good work.
- I’m grateful for the staff at ACC who tended to the animals at Elgin during the freeze, and who dealt with water leaks, frozen boilers, sprinkler leaks, frozen cooler towers, pipe damage, and more across our multiple buildings and campuses.
- I’m grateful for instructional leadership who figured out, on the fly, how to move facilities-intensive programs and classes into other facilities. Why are they moving those classes? See Number 2 above.
- I’m grateful for senior leadership who believe in grace, compassion, flexibility, and humor. And who have worked tirelessly to steer the great ship that is ACC through these immensely challenging waters.
- I’m grateful for the deans and executive director whom I directly support. They are brilliant and thoughtful and funny and dedicated, and our weekly meetings are always lively and restorative.
- I’m grateful for the department chairs who have done so much to support their faculty and their students, and who continue to “roll with the punches” when I know they’re tired.
- I’m grateful for faculty who keep students at the center of their decision-making.
- I’m grateful for my newish Executive Assistant who, in the last two months, has helped me do my work more effectively. And I’m grateful for my “borrowed” Executive Assistant who got me through some sad and difficult times in 2020.
- I’m grateful to work at a college whose mission I believe in. That mission inspires me every day.
Gratitude keeps me focused. Yes, we all get tired, and frustrated, and irritated, and whiny. But I regularly count my blessings because I know this most of all – I work at an institution that is going to save the world. And that blessing keeps me going.