Tuesday, July 08, 2008

A jumble of thoughts and questions

What am I happy about right now?

* I am at home alone for a couple of hours. Quiet. Peace-filled. Bliss.
* I just returned from Earth Fare, one of my favorite supermarkets. Then again, I like nearly every supermarket. How can anyone not be happy to be surrounded by fresh food, yummy snacks, flavorful drinks, and dozens of people all hoping to feed themselves and their loved ones well?
* Ice water and ice cold watermelon on a hot day in Charlotte.
* Today I had the chance to work with two Spanish 2 students at a local school for over an hour on their Spanish. Kristiana is taking a lit class at Providence Day School. After I dropped her off for her first session last week, I made the decision to go back up the hallway in order to talk to the Spanish teacher about what textbook he uses with his students. One question became several - that's me, the perpetual geek! The questions began to come my way, and in the end, he invited me to come back and tutor two students. So there I am, back in the classroom, teaching other people's daughters. I didn't realize how much I'd missed the classroom. I am enjoying this opportunity to look them in the eye and tell them how smart they are, how much they already know, and how well they are doing. They are soaking it all up like two very thirsty little sponges. I will return on Thursday.
* When Daniel and I arrived at PDS before the tutoring session, we saw Kristiana heading out of the building for her break. We called her over. She spoke to us rather briefly, then she declared that she wanted to go and have her snack with other students from her class. Yes!!! She is breaking free of us, of me. I am so happy for her.
* Reconnecting with distant friends and deepening relationships with local ones.
* I am going to San Francisco next week for the Blogher conference. Yup, a conference for those of us who bare our souls to the world online. The majority of attendees will be women - which will be an added blessing. Don't get me wrong; I like men. I love men. But women are awesome, too!

What am I sad about right now?

* The usual stuff: flooding, famine, wild fires, political unrest around the world. Just to name a few.
* Realizing that for all my rhetoric and angst, I am not doing all I can to help the many people I know who are suffering.
* Not being able to spend as much time with the ones I love as I'd like. Watching them withdraw from our relationships. Watching them withdraw from themselves, as though a joy-filled life isn't possible for everyone.
* The fact that I still am affected by the myriad voices that try to make me feel guilty for my inadequacies, doubts, and contradictions, even though I know that guilt has no real or lasting effect on my behavior or my thinking.
* I have gained six pounds in the past three months. Apparently all those chocolate almond clusters from Trader Joe's have decided to stick around for a while.
* These weeks of summer are flying past. Soon we will start homeschooling again. My daughter will be in 10th grade - three short years until she is off to college. Daniel will be in 7th grade. He will (most likely) return to Charlotte Christian as a 9th grader. Within a couple of years, I will bid farewell to my babies.

My mind is a jumble of thoughts and questions.
Emotions and sensations.
Unity and claustrophobia.
Hunger and gluttony.
Peace and turmoil.
Inertia and frenetic movement.
Love and apathy.
Grace and criticism.
Constriction and freedom.

It's all right here. In my head, my heart, my home.
In my soul, my spirit, and my body as well.
And as I walk this life journey, I am learning to take these questions,
these contradictions, these confounding dilemmas and
spill them - not only into my journal but also here on the blog and
run them up the flagpole of my life and
wave them around, above, and before me
like a flag - not only of surrender but also of victory
fearlessly, light-heartedly,
shamelessly, unapologetically.

This photo was taken at Misty Meadows, the ranch where Kristiana takes horseback riding lessons.
The path is not clear. It appears to end at a stone wall.
But every step of the way is so very beautiful.
And there are treasures to be found beneath each footfall.
Kinda like my life.
I confess: I am a mess.
Sometimes a weepy, discouraged, and overwhelmed mess.
Sometimes a contented, elated, and grateful mess.
A mess nonetheless.

Apparently these are the lyrics from an Alanis Morrissette song. I copied them from someone else's blog.
They speak so directly to so much of what I have been thinking and feeling in the past few weeks and months.
I am a bristling, writhing bundle of contradictions.
Life is so hard. It is so good too.

Hand in my Pocket -

I'm broke but I'm happy
I'm poor but I'm kind
I'm short but I'm healthy, yeah
I'm high but I'm grounded
I'm sane but I'm overwhelmed
I'm lost but I'm hopeful baby
What it all comes down to
Is that everything's gonna be fine fine fine
I've got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is giving a high five
I feel drunk but I'm sober
I'm young and I'm underpaid
I'm tired but I'm working, yeah
I care but I'm restless
I'm here but I'm really gone
I'm wrong and I'm sorry baby
What it all comes down to
Is that everything's gonna be quite alright
I've got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is flicking a cigarette
What it all comes down to
Is that I haven't got it all figured out just yet
I've got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is giving the peace sign
I'm free but I'm focused
I'm green but I'm wise
I'm hard but I'm friendly baby
I'm sad but I'm laughing
I'm brave but I'm chicken shit
I'm sick but I'm pretty baby
What it all boils down to
Is that no one's really got it figured out just yet
I've got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is playing the piano
What it all comes down to my friends
Is that everything's just fine fine fine
I've got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is hailing a taxi cab...


Jena Strong said...

Here's to being whole enough to hold all the contradictions, my friend.

Do I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.

Thanks for that, Mr. Whitman.
And thanks to you, for the untidy and very real glimpse.

Amy said...

I love that AM song!

Dear Gail, I'm right there with you when it comes to conflicting thoughts, images, feelings, etc. We just press on and pray for clarity. I am so envious you're going to Blogher!!!

Shelby said...

conflicting thots.. they come they go.. life..ebb and flow.

Ella said...

Gail you know you're always in my heart.

Have been very sick, just getting back on my feet.

Always love to read your words.

Love and Peace,


Moneesha said...

I've always loved Alanis Morissette from when she first burst out to the music scene. If you haven't - you must read/hear her song titled Ironic.

Virginia said...


I love the fact that you are tutoring two students. Their lives will be inspired and forever changed by what you say and who you are. They will never foget you.