I know this will sound crazy, and it's painful to imagine how deep I got myself. I was called down to my principal's office. I had intended to negotiate a higher salary for next year, mean while, he told me that he was phasing out my special needs department and there wouldn't be a job for me next year. He said that he was open to using me as a substitute. Of course, I am shocked at myself that despite how angry I was at myself for finding myself in the role of a Rebbe, I still was considering working there the following year. As soon, as I heard him say that I had no job next year, I breathed a sigh of relief, I felt so good inside, I would no longer need to fake and pretend.
I got a job around the corner from my school at a kosher restaurant. To be honest, I was angry for a while. I still had a lot of pride in my jewish mind, the mind that had conquered so much gemara, the mind that had seen itself as so smart,and so much better than everyone else. I had been a rebbe, at least I had some respect, and now I was a "nobody" just a simple person working in a restaurant and picking up french fries off the floor, and loading snapples into the refrigerator. Surprising as it may seems something about this new job seemed very right. I never imagined that it could be this way, but here it was, and it seemed more than ok, I really liked it. I was wondering if I was allowed to love this this much. How can this be possible? They had always told us that work was bad and it seemed like something that I should better stay away from. There was nothing glamorous about it. I wasn't spreading yiddishkeit, but still I felt like I was doing something really good. How could I be feeling this good, doing something this dumb.
Little did I know that for my kind of mind, I actually benefited from this kind of job. It was great. I blossomed more at that job than I did in all those shukel-filled years of bending over the gemara. In this job, I had to deal with real people, and real problems.
It's true, there were some awkward and painful moments. My restaurant was right around the corner from the school I used to teach in. I used to wear a suit and tie, now I was wearing a hawaian shirt and jeans. I used to be someone who they asked advice of and now they were asking me for another order of french fries. I used to have others cleaning the floor, now it was me. Still I must admit that I got so much inner reward from feeling that I was doing something that was real, that it made it all worth while. I felt honest. For once in my life, I was being really me. I never knew that being real could feel so good. I knew now, with every fiber in my body that i was living my truth, and that was a great reward.