From the beginning of the summer I have had the most difficult time focusing. I have picked up the same books over and over again, read the same pages repeatedly, and find myself closing the books and staring at the wall. I feel stuck. Wounded maybe. I think that this past year wore me down in so many different areas that my mind decided that it "didn't want to play", much like a child who is tired of being bullied. It wasn't one person, one incident, one place or circumstance. I might describe it as a drawer that you seem to stuff things into as you are walking by or cleaning. It is easier to just keep putting those things into the drawer and close it and walk away. No time to really put it where it belongs, just get it out of the way for now so you can get on with life - survive. Eventually the drawer won't close. The "wounds" could also be described much like a piano lid I had years ago that would come slamming down on my fingers almost every time I played. I asked over and over again for it to be fixed but no one ever got around to it and so my fingers took a beating - every day - mulitiple times a day. While recalling the piano lid it reminded me of another way to describe the feeling of the "wounds". Piano players will understand the feeling of playing a piece of music for performance and the air conditioner is blowing directly on your music and the pages keep turning. You are unable to stop them and fix them because you would have to stop playing....and you can't.
I would love to say I have spent my summer cleaning out that metaphorical drawer. I began my summer cleaning out my closet. I saw the metaphorical drawer, but the closet was much more pressing at the time. I cleaned out my closet and it has remained cleaned and tidy all summer. I threw away and purged. It felt wonderful. I moved on to my chest of drawers and did the same thing. Sadly, they did not remain as pristine as the closet, but nonetheless they have been purged. The physical purging did wonders for a little while, but it was only a band aid. I have learned over the years that I am very good at working hard to clean up things and "get life in order" in a physical way.
The drawer is still here. I know that it needs emptying, sorting, and organizing. I want so desperately to begin the drawer purge. But, like any major cleaning project I know that once I start, it creates a huge mess. You either choose to finish it or stuff it back in for another day. And so the viscious cycle of whether or not the drawer is worth tackling takes place within myself. I sometimes wonder if I should just dump the entire contents of the drawer in a large garbage bag and just start fresh - take a match to it - burn the bridge so to speak. Now there is a thought. I do ask myself if it would be a band aid....or maybe, just maybe it is the best thing to do.
I usually end up with a stack of wonderful books that I have read over the summer beside my bed. Many contain new friends I have made through fiction and others contain wisdom and much loved contemplation. But not this summer. I believe many people have times in their lives when they feel this way. I grieve the loss of my peaceful reading and contemplation. Some blessings along the way this summer have been in different places. I have spent some time writing to my daughter in a journal for her to take to college with her in a year. Hopefully I will fill it completely over the course of the year. I have also had coffee with a neighbor several times this summer and am so thankful for a friend nearby to talk to. We have lived on the same street only separated by a couple of houses and have not had a relationship. Shameful. Life's busyness is a terrible barrier to friendship and companionship. I hate the time that has been wasted due to life getting in the way, but I am thankful for new beginnings. My neighbor is a lover of books as well and I am envious of her stack that I know she has been plowing through with passion this summer!!! I know I'll get back to that eventually. God is good that way!
Some people think that teachers have life so easy because "we get the whole summer off!" I don't even try to explain away the stupidity of this remark anymore. Only a teacher understands what actually happens in the summer....before, during, and after the decompression takes place from the intensity of what I would describe as the Wall Street of education.
As the summer comes to a close I find myself asking God to clean out the cobwebs and dust the crevices where I have not been able to. Those cobwebs and dust-filled places are usually clean and fresh by now. I am going to have to soley rely on His perfect cleansing power for this one. I read back over this post and chuckled because the words are still as jumbled and foggy as my mind has been this summer. I find in trying to put my feelings into words they are still so hard to articulate. Ready or not the pace will begin again and I will need to be ready to love and live what I've always known. He is always faithful and shows me that I have a purpose and am teaching to make a difference even in the life of one. I love the students! They fuel my fire and deserve every ounce of energy and love I have for music and singing. I will wait for Him to show me that I'm ready because He is there to ignite the fire, fuel the creativity and passion, and marry the words and music in my life into a song once again.
Some lyrics from an old song I love:
Sometimes life seems like words and music
That can't quite become a song.
So we cry inside, and we try it again
And wonder what could be wrong.
But, when we turn to the Lord at the end of ourselves
Like we've done a time or two before
We find His truth is the same
As it has always been
We'll never need more
It's not in trying But in trusting
It's not in running But in resting
Not in wondering But in praying
That we find the strength of the Lord.