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mean times.

30 September 2009


here’s what i’m not doing right now.

i’m not telling you about my day or week.  i’m not mentioning how arduous teaching a particular class was this week, like hauling 30 sophomores uphill, on my back, while they complain and, audibly in some cases, think that i suck.  i’m not worrying about the outcome of a lame situation that i have gotten myself into by accident.  i am not thinking about how tired i am.  i am not mulling over how much i need to work on, and how i feel like i will not ever be a good teacher because of reasons having to do with my personality. i’m not telling you about how technology keeps failing me.  i’m not telling you of my learning about just how much weight i’ve gained in two years of being in school/stress mode (and i feel every ounce of it) that feels too big to talk about, while feeling ultimately deficient in the will to change it.  i’m not telling you about how inspired i am daily by excellent teachers, being dazzled and amazed at their brilliance, while simultaneously feeling daunted and nervous that i will never be this good.  i won’t tell you about how much i want to be good at life, and how much i think about it.  i’m not telling you how many 15 year olds i bored this week, or how many told me so, or how many told me how i am their least favorite teacher.

to be fair, i’m also not telling you about the fortunate time i’m spending with my two favorite older nieces.  i’m not mentioning how adorable my youngest niece and nephew are, and how i can’t help but be in a good mood when i see their cute chubby little faces.  i can’t being to describe how nice it is to start to feel like you have a few good friends and have weekly time with said friend for once.  i’m not mentioning how awesome my drive to work is, an early morning technicolor explosion that only lasts a few weeks each year.  i’m not explaining how helpful my parents are in ways physical, emotional, and spiritual.  i am not raving about the boy (The Boy!) and how tangibly happy I am with him.  and i’m certainly not talking about how bitchin (that’s right, folks, BITCHIN) a small coterie of my student-teacher friends are who get together and share secrets and laughs over cocktails.  i will also not note that when i told a number of my students i was leaving next friday (to go to the middle school), they got very sad and wished that i was not leaving.

because it’s all there.

however, in the meantime…

my issues will not clear up overnight.  my students will not miraculously come in tomorrow, motivated to work.  i will not enter school tomorrow with magical new relationships with my students (which i feel is one of THE most important keys to my success in this endeavor) in an instant.  i will not suddenly sprout inspiring new insights about life, philosophy or early american literature with which i can inspire the masses.  my crisis of confidence, the one with the gnarled roots at the base of my whole life, will not disappear without effort, like it was just an unfortunate occurrence of indigestion.  this weekend i will not wake up and suddenly be unburdened and become thrilled with who i am.

i will also wake up and know there are any new amazing things that can happen each new day.  really.

these things, they take time.  but in the meantime…

ever looked at that word “meantime”?  the most difficult of times, the times in between where you were and where you so desperately want to be, can seem long.  and truthfully, they are long, because there is no “there” there.  there are new plateaus and new mountains around every corner.

and in the meantime…

mean.  time.  that’s what it is, because these stretchy long bits are MEAN.  angry, sometimes.  sad, can be.  MEAN REDS.  and small triumphs.  and, luckily for me, strong and capable people in lock-step with me (despite my tendency to want to hide from them occasionally, with copious amounts of chocolate and blankets to hide until the foreseeable future).

so.  in the meantime…

what do you do, besides forging onward (which i am doing)?  how do i deal with all this detritus, this stuff that is stuffing up my brain and my spirit and my energy.

give me a four step plan, please.

in the meantime, then, i am

not worrying about anything.
instead, i am praying about everything (and i mean EVERYTHING).
i am telling God what i need,
and thanking him for all he has done.  (phillippians 4:6)

WRIT LARGE.  ABOVE MY DESK.  if i could have this tattooed on my arm now, i would.

my four-step daily plan for dealing with stuff.  if that doesn’t work, do it again.  and again.  and again.  it’s working.  if it means you can keep going, it’s working.  if it means that it brings you peace sometimes, it’s working.  if it means you are saying it by force of will, it’s working.

if you want to know what it is that i’m doing at any given time, it is this.

all, of course, in the meantime.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Courtney permalink
    1 October 2009 2:55 pm

    Beautiful. This should be one of those posts we all revisit and reflect on frequently. Thanks for sharing what you are learning.

  2. 18 October 2009 8:46 am

    wow. publish this.

  3. 18 October 2009 8:47 am

    i guess you already have–here. but still. . . you’ve captured it completely. it’s everything i’m not doing as well–minus the boy part.

    • 18 October 2009 1:13 pm

      thanks, all. as one of my favorite teachers would say, it warms the cockles of my little heart that everyone has responded so kindly to this. bowls me over.

  4. Sarah Triplett permalink
    28 October 2009 7:02 am

    I love you, Sara darling! Your honesty inspires me. . . and speaking as one who has finally made it through two and a half years of hell, in the meantime. . . you can do it. I believe in you.

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