Reset hope

I realized this morning that I haven’t worn my glasses in days. Well, I think it has been days, though honestly, it could be a week or more. I actually don’t remember when I wore them last. In fact, if you asked me for their current location, a reaching guess would be the best I could offer.

And yet, I don’t seem to have missed them…their ever present weight on my face, their incessant reminders of my aging eyes as I begrudgingly reach to remove them simply in order to read my computer screen, their gentle bounce as I jog the neighborhood…a gentle jog of memory for how the world moved when vertigo was a daily friend. I really haven’t missed any of those things…at least not enough to notice their absence.

But, that singular perspective doesn’t tell the whole story because in fact I do miss the presence of the distances in my life that required the glasses in the first place–my students across the classroom from me, ripe avocados from the other side of the produce section that glimmer with the hope of future guacamole, the screen at the gym that reveals my heart rate (in some way confirming that I have in fact worked out, as though the pounding heart and pouring sweat weren’t evidence enough).

Everything these days is in close proximity…my family, the pantry, my backyard, my desk. There is no distance that requires my glasses for clarity, only a distance that is too great for my glasses to clarify. I see my students on my computer screen…I read their words and hear their voices and in some ways they are still very present in my everyday. Yet, the absence of the vibrant richness of their presence marks everyday as a bit emptier than it could have been. This is not summer. This is not vacation. This is a collection of days that were promised and then revoked, without warning. Days etched now with the wispy shadow of what should be. Yet in the midst of this distance, my affection for my profession, for my school, for my community deepens, strengthens fueled by the lens of truth held up by space and time.

Even in these strange and unusual days, when we are sheltered in our homes from an invisible and indiscriminate adversary…when we are separated from people and places and produce (sorry, I miss the grocery store…a lot)…even when we are anxious, afraid, and uncertain…even now, gratitude has a way of unfurling in small moments as the first flower of spring offers hope that despite the desolation of winter, eventually the earth defrosts and new life comes to be.

And I think that has to be where my focus turns…toward the new life that has yet to take shape…the bud, still tightly wound, yet to reveal its beauty. My focus has to be on the gratitude for that moment yet to arrive. I am not diminishing in any way the very real concerns this virus instills. Trust me. I feel them deep within my core. That fear has overwhelmed and frozen my writing for over a week now and borrowed sound sleep from my mind’s vocabulary.

It’s just that I cannot exist in that hopeless fear driven space and expect to be of use to those who need me–including myself. And so, I am simply adding a new lens to the collection. This time, the lens of reset, the lens of renewal, the lens that will allow me gratitude for this pause in life and that will water seeds of hope for the goodness already present and the goodness yet to arrive.

I still don’t know where my glasses are…I’m not entirely sure when I will find them…but my vision feels sharper nonetheless.

(a poem for you in this moment…one that I shared with my students–whose insight was stunning, I might add–take a second to read it if you can…“Today” by Billy Collins)




Indecision. That is my problem this evening. The simple task of selecting a topic and seeing it through has evolved into an exercise in stops and starts. I begin working with a topic and at first it feels like it is going well–I’m making progress and enjoying the work. But then, maybe two paragraphs in, I change my mind…decide, hmmm, maybe I’ll finish this one another day, but not tonight. I’ve literally started then saved three different blog beginnings before finally determining that my brain is too tired to see anything through and here we are. I am simply writing this sort of terrible blog about my indecision just to complete this day of writing.

But, in my defense, being a principal means making decisions, and not just a few, all day long, so I feel excused in my inability. A ridiculously long time ago, when my husband and I were first married, he would come home and say he made decisions all day and didn’t want to have to decide what we were eating for dinner or really anything. I thought that was ridiculous…incredulous…a pathetic excuse to get out of conversation and responsibility. Everyone makes decisions all day long. That’s a human thing and it wasn’t unique to him. I was far from sympathetic and even farther from empathetic. And then the universe stepped in. As I began this new work in this new position, I nearly immediately understood what he meant.

My brain is spent when I get home…all I really want to do is crash…to fall asleep on the sofa while watching terrible television. But these days, before I can do that, I have to write and before I can do that, I have to know what it is I will write about. And some days, getting to that point feels impossible.

Today is one of those days for sure. So, this is it. This is what I have to show for my writing today. I don’t love it and I’m far from happy with it. But as I have said before in this challenge on other difficult days, at least I didn’t quit. At least I made the time and space to write. At least I maintained the discipline. I’ll finish those other more substantive blogs on another day when my brain is fully cooperative and a bit more clear. I am certain of that. This project was never about perfect writing anyway. It was always about simply writing, and I have done that.

(Day 23…not sure this one should count, but here it is nonetheless!)