An early springtime

My most satisfying days are spent with my head in the clouds, lost in the thought of what am I going to write next? It is one way to use my awake even when sleeping internal thoughts for something productive. A day in the clouds is a good day indeed.

In the last two months I have had very little of this sensation. I have been right on the ground, deeply invested in reality. I have been in the trenches doing hard work that I only hope is shaping hearts and minds of our youth, although I have my doubts. However, it has been hard for me to spend so much time on the ground. My moments in the clouds are few and I long for them to increase.

I see more than ever now what a luxury it is to have the time and more importantly the energy for such moments. The majority of my energy is directed towards the roughly 150 students I interact with on a daily basis. 150 hopes and dreams. 150 sensitive learners. 150 futures. 150 names called out for attendance every day. 150 eyes and ears (times 2) that will hopefully absorb a thing or two I say and see that it has value. 150 opinions. 150 teenagers with a strong sense of justice. 150 versus 1.

I am so thankful to have this work so please don’t misinterpret me to be a cynical teacher. It is just that from time to time I’m shocked at how much of myself goes into this job. It comes at a cost, as all meaningful work does. That cost is my creative drive and little bits of my sanity. Who needs those little extra bits of sanity anyway? They were just there to give me the impression that I am in control. A laughable conclusion.

Ski

Fun work. Photo credit to @jillmil

This is what I would call my first real working adult lull. My desire to be wide eyed with wonder has been usurped by the real demands of my every day life. Instead of having ample space in my life for the things that bring me peace and joy, I am required to seek them out. I must make time for beauty, for silence, for music, for prayer, for recreation or I will sink into submission under my work and duties and time wasted vegging out. My work and duties must still be accomplished, but I don’t intend to do them as a vapid servant, obeying their will.

This is more of a challenge then I care to admit. It means taking an initiative that I don’t naturally come by as the youngest of 4 children. It means listening to my husband when he tells me I need to get out more. It means leaving work and committing to running or walking before or after dinner. It means listening to music instead of watching television. It means investing myself in the people in front of me instead of ‘investing’ my time on Facebook. It means praying more than ever.

This is who I want to be. I feel I am far from it right now. You see, the deceptively dark side of my internal thoughts are the parts that say ‘Stay put, you deserve another break,’ or ‘There is nothing you can do about this feeling of restlessness’ and worse of all ‘This is as good as it is going to get. Don’t even try to make it any better.’  These are lies. I give into these lies far too often.

I am resolving to welcome an early springtime. I have just enough courage to do so.

photo (4)

A beauty by my better half.

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6 thoughts on “An early springtime

  1. Thank you for this post. I need to hear it as much a possible, too. I am not a machine, (although the only machines I ever see worked this hard are the copiers in my building and we know what happens to those.) I am not even a TEACHER. I need constant reminding that I am a HUMAN. 🙂 We will get there.

  2. Hi Laura,
    I was out walking yesterday and thinking of you and your conqueror postings and noting that I hadn’t seen anything for a while. Thought to myself, “She is swamped by teaching.” I like to think that I was thinking of you as you wrote, or as you were thinking about writing, and am glad to see that your have surfaced from the swamp. Pauline is visiting and I was talking about teaching and how you have to do it to realize how intensely demanding it is, physically and emotionally.

    If its any consolation, I am learning, as part of a memoir writing group, that the really important and powerful stuff from the past doesn’t go away and it can be accessed even 40 years later. It does make it richer and set off a few sparks if you have some journals or notes to refer to but some events are like good compost…they take time to reach their full richness and meaning.

    Love, your composting aunt,

    Mary

  3. This post really resonated with me, especially the part about needing to take the time to seek out the things that give you peace and joy. Darren keeps laughing at me because every couple of months I “discover” that I am actually an introvert and I need to have down time in order to maintain my mental health. I can tell pretty quickly once I have reached my “people limit” and need to have time to refuel.

    It sounds like having kids is similar to being a teacher. You put all of yourself into your work and you don’t always get the result that you are looking for. Sometimes you have time to think and sometimes you don’t. Not being able to eat a meal without breaking up an argument or preventing someone from falling off a table is balanced by the delight of an unsought hug and kiss from your offspring (although hopefully your students aren’t trying to kiss you!)

    I suppose what I am saying is that you are right: you do need to seek out what gives you peace, not what temporarily satisfies your desires. And figuring out those things right now – and actively cultivating them – will help you as you move on to different stages of your life.

    There. How’s that for sisterly advice?

  4. Hi Laura:
    This is very good. You put into words a struggle that I believe is common to many, if not to all human beings. It appears that dealing with work pressure by distraction in one’s “off” hours is common; but you are aware of and striving for a higher road. Maybe the answer is a balance. Ernest Dimnet can be interpreted to say that we do our best thinking in our subconscious when we purposefully lay a problem aside for a time, approaching the problem afresh when our unhurried intuition has done its work.

  5. Pingback: “…You might as well imagine something worth while.” | conqueror of silly little things

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