You know what? Today didn’t start out very well. It started out with chipmunk damage to my car. What can be more ridiculous than that? In fact this year hasn’t started out very well. It has been stressful, to say the least, trying to get used to a new job with students and parents who don’t know me, who don’t have a relationship with me–in short, who don’t really trust me yet. (Yet.) On top of that, every time I turn around it seems like I’m dealing with clothes that don’t fit, technology that breaks, an aging house, animal damage, illness, or the expenses that come with that stuff. (That’s why it has been so long between blogs. Sorry, but not really. The tyranny of the urgent doesn’t bow to my writing whims.)
It seems that every time I turn around there is more bad news, so I have to turn around again. Here are some glimpses from this week:
- Today was supposed to be a fairly simple day. I was going to get up, clean up my car if it wasn’t raining (it was,) and then go to get some recording done before an afternoon rehearsal. Instead I had a couple of disasters, before I even got to the theater, and my antique laptop wouldn’t sync up with the keyboard at the theater. Every time I turned around this morning, something expensive happened. But then I turned around again. Mom let me borrow her car, which was a really easy fix, and when I really thought about it, I knew that I wasn’t going to go bankrupt or starve because of my thin finances right now. It’s not like I won’t be able to do the show if my laptop won’t sync. I was whining and moaning, and one of the cast members said, “Is it going to be that kind of day?” Good point, and I’m glad he made it. I’m grateful for the cast, for a family that is close by and able to help, and for disasters that really aren’t that disastrous.
- Last night I was driving through the boonies to a gig (and, let’s face it, having a gig is a blessing in itself, and that gig was one of those little serendipitous blessings) and I was noticing lots of little houses along the way that were built when mine was built. They were in much worse shape than mine, and even on a good day some of them were quite ugly. I was wondering, “How could anyone come home to that house?” I was suddenly overcome with gratitude for my little house. Yes, it needs new windows and some cleaning up right now (that’s what summer is for,) but it’s sound and it’s secure, and I’m grateful. I can’t imagine, in fact being half as happy if I lived in a new house or in a big house or even an older house with more architectural charm than what I have. I may drive in my driveway (which needs repairing in a huge way) and notice the work I need to do, but I never come home without knowing that in this little house I’m as home as I can ever hope to be this side of heaven.
- If you’ve ever spent any time in a school, you know why year-round school is an awful idea. Students’ brains fall out after spring break, and they become crazy people. It’s particularly tough when you’re a new teacher; there is just no grace. It seems like every time I turn around I’m thinking, “Lord, why do they hate me?” (If you’ve ever spent any time in a school, you know that relationships take time, too. I’m grateful for people who remind me of that.) But then I turn around again. I still hear from my old students constantly, sometimes every day. (There are at least 3 of them that I owe a phone call right now, in fact. If you are one of them, I TRULY haven’t forgotten. I really am going to call you back, and I’m so sorry!) I hear from the cadets, and I hear from kids I accompanied 15 years ago, and I’m grateful and encouraged.
- And then tonight. There was nothing unpleasant about tonight; it was pure grace. My niece (who is the same age as some of the students I don’t know so well yet, but that I have already begun to love, if tenuously,) wanted to come over and work on an audition. I’ve loved my niece from the minute I learned she existed. As a bonus, she is quite easy to love, and she loves some of the things I love, too. I would be crazy about her even if she was my opposite, but it’s just icing on the cake that really is my life (when I think about it long enough) that she wants me to help her with something that I already love to do. Bonus on bonus, she has become friends with a sweet, fun girl that I babysat many years ago. I loved having them in my little house tonight, loved sharing a bit of their lives.
Life is much like the North Georgia spring. One horizon can be black with clouds, and the opposite ablaze with color. The two circumstances are not ignorant of the other. They may defy each other or feed off the other, in fact, but a flaming sunrise or sunset is often the precursor or result of a stormy day. Whichever one you face, don’t forget to turn around.