Monday, May 26, 2014

Held in the Heart of Love

I have been busy.

I don't mean to be a part of the churn in our culture that glorifies busy "Oh, I'm soooo busy, can't even find time to blah blah blah!"

But it's true. 

I have been, and I am. 

I'm trying to squirrel away some cash so I can do my dream job for a while. So, I am hustling nuts just about as fast as I can, or well, no nuts. I'm scoring student essays from standardized tests. It is forty million times more difficult than you think it is. Really. It is. 

I can't say much of course, because of confidentiality agreements. But the last few days I've been working lots of overtime, trying to finish a big project on time. Or less late. Or something. I've worked straight through from Mother's Day with no days off, usually 9, 10 and even 12 hour days. 

I am happy for the work and the chance to bring in some money. My goodness I work with some amazing people. But I'm starting to get tired, and maybe a little raw. 

We sometimes get a little peek into the lives of the students who write these essays. As you can imagine, the essays can be charming, heart warming and even funny--our quiet office is occasionally punctuated with a burst of giggles from a scorer, all in good cheer. 

But there are some papers that just bring me to my knees. Some young people deal with so much more than they should have to. It breaks my heart open. There are processes to get help to the kids, it's all handled well. But still, there it is. 

Yesterday after reading a heart breaker, I had to take a moment and step out in the fresh air. How can our society just chug on along when our children are all just really not OK. Really, now. How? I stood and watched the wet Seattle afternoon, the bright green spring leaves shook raindrops to the ground as the sun broke through the clouds, the fresh spring air promising growth, life and hope. Maybe hope, anyway. 

But the papers are there, and they need to be scored. It's my job to score them. So I headed back in and sat down at my desk.Somehow, I needed something, a marker to at least note to myself that I hear these kids, I see them, I care. And I do not for one moment think that the way our world works is OK at all, in particular when it comes to our children. 

I wrote a version of the affirmation we use in the Church of the Larger Fellowship's services  after our shared joys and sorrows on a sticky note and stuck it to the travel tumbler that sits on my desk all day. My prayer. My hope. My deepest wish for every being or at the very least for every single child: 

"May all be held in the heart of love."

It is, right now, my deepest prayer. 

May we work like hell to make it so. 


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Sunshine on Grateful Days

The sun is out!

The birds are singing!

The flowers are in bloom --yes, yes, yes, they're flowering weeds and bolted kale, but who cares!

And, my son is coming home from his first year at school!

I've done the kid-away-at-college gig before. But this one didn't just go to UW here in Seattle. This one went to school in Syracuse. Know how many planes it takes to get to Syracuse? Two. It takes two planes, you have to connect. It's far, far, far away. Three time zones.

But now school is over and he's coming home and he'll be here for, well, he'll be here for chunks of the summer between his field studies. I am happy, so so happy!

This year has been a tough one for me. In July my oldest son moved a few hours away for his first career job after college. And then the middle son moved to Syracuse for college at SUNY ESF, which has turned out to be the perfect school for him. It's good but it's awful.

Then there was the job search. I had so much trouble finding the right job. (Which I did by the way, I start at CLF this August and we're going to to amazing things with our ministry to families!) That search just about took the wind out of my sales for good-- I was ready to just work at the local gas station.....well, maybe not the gas station but I was pretty convinced that the right job no longer existed. None of those are terrible things, really. But, my dad is living strong with two kind of stage four cancer, which is always stuck in my throat. That's tough. And my husband hates his job. That's tough, too. Somehow, it all added up.

So this year, for a very lucky person, I felt like crap. A lot. I missed my two oldest kids, and smothered the poor youngest kid with too much mothering.

I tried to throw myself into volunteering, but probably didn't do as well as I could have because I always felt like I was just barely keeping my head above water. Depression kinda sucks the ambition right out of you.

I really, really tried to find a job, I got close on a few that seemed like a good fit, but nothing came through. I thought all those networks I had would kick in, but no dice. Looking for work is full-time work, and it's the worst job you'll even not have. Seriously. Brutal.

It's all over now. The middlest comes home tomorrow. We rented a van and we're all going to the new whale museum on Saturday to celebrate the May birthdays and Mother's Day. I am working a fine temp job that lasts til July and then I'll start at CLF in August. My kids will be here. My dogs are always here. We even  found a good dog therapist for the crazy one. Really, all is well in my world.

I am the kind of person who usually has a self-righting mechanism. I get really depressed, but I usually turn back around like those self righting bath toys and go paddling along on my grateful days.

This time took a little longer. But I'm here. Upright. And on my way.