August 28, 2016

As we tested microphones for practice this morning, I realized with a start that I had completely forgotten about one of the songs I had intended to learn before this morning. The other vocalist was leading the Korean lyrics, but I was going to lead the English. This meant learning the song, but also figuring out the phrasing, as English translations often don’t mesh perfectly with the flow of the notes, like they work with the song’s original language. In the business of the workweek and then that of the dorm students come Friday night, I had simply forgotten about this song. Until this morning. Grace abounded for me, and for all of us, when the few minutes before the service ended up being enough to get a feel for it. And then somehow, during the song itself, the rest of it came together and it worked–so far as I could tell, at least.
Now I am in no way attempting to advocate for a lack of preparation…though lord knows life as a teacher involves a fair bit of a learning curve in the art of pant-seat-fly-by-ing ;-)
But the fact of today is that I dropped the ball. I should have been prepared and I was not. I am also, however, grateful that I did; this ball-dropping was a way that God allowed me to see the slippery slope I was heading down, and to give me a check on it before I dropped a more significant “ball.”
I have, since this school year began, been striving. And I have been tired: worn out from pushing to accomplish something-anything-but seeing little fruit for my labor, as far as my own perspective goes. Each day I wonder if I can make it through the business of the day …and I crave a sense of doing it well. But at this point in my job, tangible outcomes are just not a reality. The library is, quite frankly, a mess; it cannot hide years of neglect and the absence of a librarian. And I have not yet figured out a good work flow/balance that will allow me to make sense of the library while teaching all my classes in an effective, and wholehearted manner. Thus far, I’ve had to focus more on the teaching, though the truth is that I’d rather be tackling the library! So when this week ended, and I did not see the results I wanted, I refused to allow myself to feel weary. I figured I should have some tangible results if I was going to be tired from the week. Not seeing those, I began a weekend of attempting to make myself feel worthwhile. When this led me to wear out, and then end up needy for affirmation that wasn’t coming, my husband lovingly called me on it. Instead of profusely thanking me as I busied about with attention-seeking household tasks, he simply commented: “you don’t have to make yourself useful.”
I’d like to say that I immediately slowed down and had a peaceful Saturday evening at home; in fact, however, I let my wounded pride simmer and resented his ability to relax. I made myself miserable and, most likely, this was a large part of the reason for this morning’s issues.
But our lives are so much bigger than how we may feel about them at any given moment. And more was happening yesterday than my own off-kilter emotions.
In the midst of it, I was responsible for a couple of high school girls who actually did “need” me in the midst of, and in spite of, myself. It didn’t even matter to them how I felt: imagine that! They needed me to occupy their afternoon with an excursion in search of a swimming pool. It was a longer walk than either had anticipated, about which they were quite vocal. But once we arrived at a pool that was just for us, after two that were closed, it was all worthwhile. We splashed about in the water. They put flowers in each others’ hair. And I jimmied a sling for my camera phone, using swim goggles and the corner of a pool chair, in order to capture our afternoon. The resulting, off-kilter, photos, seemed quite appropriate, all things considered :-)