The swirls and eddies of the past fortnight have begun to wear a path in my subconscious, one that even Robert Frost would warn against. Sleep eludes me, in part due to a continual ticker tape running in my mind: work, laundry, plan, teach my child, cook, clean, read news, answer emails, fold laundry, hold baby human, read social media, chat online, and on and on….Anyone else incapable of stilling their mind? Really–you, too? I’ve become one part worry, one part introspection, and those two do not make contented bedfellows. I’m finding the bleary-eyed, pre-dawn hours in between bottle feeding the six month old to be increasingly productive in everything mentally taxing. It would be nice to rest peacefully, but until this dreaded pandemic is curbed, then eradicated, I think my body will not cease producing these numbing checklists. It brings me to this thought, as I traverse what feels like a season of “busy nothings,” chasing my proverbial tail:
“Be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and stars. In the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.”~Max Erhmann~
Have you ever felt like you began, and ended, your day without a sense of accomplishment? Like, you took stock of your to-do’s, looked at the pile of dishes in the sink, and the Jenga stack of paperwork, realizing that they had to spill over into tomorrow like one of those infinity pools in upscale hotels, a cascade of “adulting” waters that were routed back to the top of the promontory of your life, only to plummet over the rim once more?
I never could have foreseen 2020’s inception of a weird new dimension I’m in, which combines a professional obligation with a familial one: I am both parent & teacher. Remember the cartoons we all watched as a kid, something like Tom & Jerry, where Tom, the ever-sneaky house cat has to battle the miniature robe-bedecked angel on his left, and the crimson whisper of the devil on his right? The one-person “me party” going on in my cranium range from blaming the “parent” in me for the lapses in good behavior and focus, while the more malleable “teacher” in me attempts to reinforce what all of my colleagues keep reminding me of: we are in CRISIS MODE right now, and I need to extend myself a little grace. Okay, and my daughter. And my husband, son, students, family members, colleagues, etc.
I realized that I am trying too hard to make mini-gauntlets for myself and my offspring to run blind through. I am also trying to target those Maslow needs, first with the emotional necessities, and praying that I can also wear my teacher-counselor “hat,” like I have for almost a decade and a half, while in the classroom or on the stage.
Within the past three months, the globe seems to have gone topsy-turvy and we are all watching those outside our four walls go through the stages of grief. Right now, I’m somewhere between really, really peeved and utterly ravaged with distress. When I feel my internal mercury rising, I often turn to music.
If y’all have ever had a “God moment,” today mine confirmed to me that I’m not alone. We were eating breakfast together before the day began, and Darcy wanted some music to fill the stillness. The first song that drifts from the Echo Dot is “Rescue,” by Lauren Daigle. Today, it happened to me THREE times. Darcy and I were in the car this morning, running an errand for rollerskates, before we go into the imposed “shelter in place” mentality, but the store we visited was closed. I was frustrated, because there were so many other things on my ever-expanding “to-do’s.” There she was, her gravelly voice telling me this, like a direct line from Him:
“I hear you whisper underneath your breath
I hear your SOS…your SOS… I will send out an army
To find you in the middle of the darkest night
It’s true, I will rescue you..”
She is a balm for my troubled soul.
With each new sliver of light breaking past the horizon, each murky cloud obscuring our view of the blue, and each night sky awash with an ocean of stars, we have a chance to offer ourselves grace. Tonight, I am extending some to myself, and to you, too.
My favorite childhood ingenue, Anne Shirley, comforts me as I lay down my virtual “pen” and get ready to tuck the little ones into bed. She has gone through the temporary loss of her dearest friend, as that individual’s parents create a “friendship quarantine” to prevent negative influences (which they are totally wrong about, by the way…), so Anne seeks our her teacher for comfort.
“Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it.”
Goodnight, dear ones. Tomorrow, we begin anew.
~Kindred Spirit~ 3.24.20