Friday, December 19, 2008

Taking stock... good and bad

Today, thanks to a snow day, is the first day of winter break. I won't return to the classroom again until Jan. 5. I've been anticipating the respite since returning from Thanksgiving break, and now that it is here a wave of sadness overcomes me. I feel empty free of the rigors of work.

Taking stock...

I'm a single dad and only have custody of my son every other weekend. I miss the boy every day and once recently broke out in tears brushing my teeth one morning when I heard the electronic laughter of one of this toys in his always empty bedroom.

Without going into details, my best efforts to get back with my ex were for naught. At least we get along great, which, while confusing at times, is more a blessing than a curse.

I love my job! I love that I have a job. My colleagues are very supportive and I feel a welcome member of a vibrant learning community. I only wish most of my students shared the same enthusiasm. My greatest challenge is to create lessons that engage them and encourage their creativity. There's magic in the classroom when that happens. And it happens often enough to keep me going.

I'm as healthy as I've ever been. A cold bug hit me in October, but I have been cough and il,lness free since then. I recently had a comprehensive physical and checked out healthy all across the board. Surprisingly, despite my weakness for chicken wings, I have a low cholesterol count. I did not inherit arteriosclerosis. While I am heavier than I want to be, I am within 20 pounds of my target weight (200 pounds). I use good lotions, Lubriderm and Bag Balm, so my skin is healthier than ever. I still have all my hair, no hair on my back, and no grays. People tell me I look younger than my years. Its been more than 10 years since I last smoked a cigarette. I've got 11.5 sick days (of 12) available.

I'm renting a three-bedroom house. It's a great place. Wooded lot. Riverfront access. But I can't afford it. It is ironic to make more than I ever have and not have enough money to visit friends or even eat out at a fast food restaurant once a week. I'm not saving anything, but at least I'm not digging any deeper in debt.

Every month is a struggle to stay afloat. I'm tired of sitting down with a calculator each month and hoping I have enough money to pay my bills. Newspaper headlines tell me I'm not alone. This time next year I'll probably be in a rooming house. $1,200 a month for rent, in addition to child support, is crippling me. I think of how much I could sock away each month if I cut my rent in half or paid the same rent I paid ($450 a month) when I lived in DeKalb.

But this is just money, which is meaningless in the end...

What I need is not more money or things, but love, companionship, and understanding.

I feel so alone, sometimes, so misunderstood. We all live in bubbles of egotistical conceit. Enlightenment comes when that bubble breaks and a glimpse of our place in the fabric of eternity is revealed. Do you know why video phones (like The Jetsons) will never be popular? Because when people talk on the phone they fiddle around with other things or engage in pantomime side conversations while pretending to listen to the person on the other end of the line. So rarely do we connect fully to the moment.

But I believe in karma. I must pay for the bad things I've done. I will continue to try and do good, and know the right person (or people) will come along when the time is right. I'll be understood if I try to understand others.

I'm so thankful. Most of my days are filled with joy, purpose, and discovery. The days grow ever shorter, but we'll cross the axis soon. There are too many blessings to count, too many daily moments of grace and beauty. Lamenting over failures only directs my attentions away from these miracles.

1 comment:

DR. LARRY MITCHELL said...

This is a very honest, touching and emotional post. When TIBU2 opens shop, I hope you will consider writing with us. Take care.