Tuesday, January 8, 2013

"It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us." -Marianne Williamson

We've come upon the time of year when many of us feel compelled to make resolutions. Eat more fresh, local food. Do some volunteer work. Finally go to Paris. Start working on that manuscript. We step back from our lives and examine the areas that so glaringly disappoint us, convinced that others are no doubt blinded by them as well.

We resolve to change these things. This will be the year where I seize my moments and manifest all the things I feel are destined to be. This will be the year I become the best version of myself.

And then February comes around and I'm back to chasing my tail around the demands of teaching while raising my girls, hopelessly trying to carve out time to be the "serious writer" I swear is in me somewhere. Inevitably I admit defeat, sulking back into the routines that have come to shape the rut I always find myself in. I'm beginning to think it's simply human nature, this compulsion to repeat our past mistakes again and again, banging our heads into the same walls without a lesson learned.

For me, it's that I feel trapped by my job as a teacher. Suffocated. Deflated. Resentful of the fact that I spend all day with other people's children while my own are passing their days without me, waiting till 5:00 when Mommy unfolds in a tired heap on the living room floor. Conversely, I find myself worrying about my special needs students constantly. Am I letting them down? Am I doing enough for them? Can they understand that I love them till I could burst but feel like a failure because I cannot help them?

There is a place in my heart where my mind likes to drift to. I have all the time in the world for my girls. I write on my own schedule, school doesn't hijack my time here. Staying at a job only for the health insurance feels irrational in this place, I realize, because it is.

Then I come back to my present reality with a kind of unfinished understanding, like I'm on the cusp of something I can't quite put my finger on. Living that life feels like an impossible dream, the silly imaginings of someone who longs for something preposterous. Like to live on the moon. Or to have universal healthcare. But then I remember that old folk tale of the poor man sitting on the rock. He's crippled by circumstance - starving, desolate and impoverished, begging God for a pot of gold only for God to tell him that he already has it, silly man. The rock that plants him to the spot isn't a rock at all. It's the pot of gold the man so desperately wants, the exact thing he seeks. He's been sitting on it the whole time if only he'd bothered to look. Why else would God have put it there?

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