Monday, March 27, 2006

Calm Water

School is not yet out. I have not yet successfully completed the semester. But, late last week, I hit the same place I hit last semester when there were only a few weeks left.

The best way to describe it is that for weeks, I've been holding on for dear life to a raft that's been bouncing over rocks and snagging on tree branches and flipping over and over and spinning, spinning, spinning. Finally, over the last waterfall, I slipped into calm water.

It's not that anything has changed. It's just that I've hit that place where I can say, "I'm doing all I am able to do. I will either make it out of here successfully or I won't." All the things that have been worrying me are still there, but I've hit the spot where I'm now saying, "Whatever is going to happen is going to happen, and there is nothing more I can do about any of it."

I like the peaceful place. A classmate calls it being fatalistic. I don't know if that's what I'd call it. It's more like finally acknowledging that I have no control over what will happen. I cannot control what the river might ultimately do to me.

All I can do is keep holding on as if my life depended on it, for it does in a figurative way. That's all I can do. The rest is out of my hands. Being in the place where I can feel that is where I like to be.

The river may still be rushing all around me, but it feels like I've found a peaceful spot where I can stay until the water level drops. I could still die, figuratively speaking, but I'm not worrying about it right now. I'm just enjoying the blue of the water and the green of the trees.

I don't yet know if I'll make it out of the river alive, but for now, I'm enjoying this moment of peace.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Spring Break

This month is flying by. This past week was spring break. I celebrated the time out of school by spending time with family far, far away. It was good to get away.

If all goes well, I'll live near family again some day and have the opportunity to see them more than a few times a year. Then, getting away from work or school will mean going somewhere entirely different.

I used to have the opportunity to travel frequently. I hope that will become an option again in a few years. Life takes many twists and turns. Who knows what the future holds?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Ash Wednesday

I saw people at school today with ashes on their foreheads, and I remembered that today is Ash Wednesday. Yesterday, a classmate brought a King Cake to lab, and I remembered it was Fat Tuesday.

Yesterday, an instructor asked if I'd be at school today. She wanted to schedule a meeting with me. I just looked at her, because I could not remember. I knew I'd have to look at the schedule to find out. She remembered, and said, "You have lecture tomorrow."

Two days ago, someone in the elevator said, "You have lab today?" I didn't know the answer at first. She motioned to the uniform I was wearing, required on lab days. "Oh." Lately, I only seem to remember things when they are right in front of me.

I did not know there was to be an Ash Wednesday service at church tonight. Somehow I missed it Sunday in announcements at church, and in the bulletin, and in the newsletter.

An unrelated phone call this afternoon provided the information, and I thought, "Why not?" Tonight, at church, I could not remember the name of the person sitting next to me.

I am very tired. I think I must be exhausted by all the emotion in my life. You'd not know it by looking at me. I don't know what I look like, but I feel like I'm wearing a lead suit.

The service tonight was small, and we sat in chairs in a circle. When we spoke, it was about brokenness in the world, among ourselves, and within ourselves. I'm in the fine pieces category these days. I feel like I've been steam-rolled.

The image used tonight was a mosaic which can only be made with broken pieces. The mosaic is an image that offers hope. It's something to hold on to.

On the way to church, I encountered a series of objects of interference. In each case, there was almost a physical meeting of car and other. Fortunately, each event stopped just in time. I told a friend who said it sounded like a dream sequence or a moment in a Sundance Film Festival movie.

I was little more than a block from my house when a dog ran from the sidewalk directly toward the front of my car and in front under the wheel. Somehow, I did not hit the dog, and it ran back to the side of the street.

At the end of the street, I pulled up to a stop sign as a larger vehicle made a too-fast turn and just missed my car. I turned left onto that street, and before the next stop sign, a van was in my lane heading for me, with the driver looking backwards at something else. He looked forward again in time to pull into his lane.

I turned right at the stop sign, and as I went through the traffic light at the next corner, two birds the size of large pigeons, came flying and falling from the sky directly in front of my car, and either hit, or almost hit, the pavement. Then, they flew off in different directions.

In every case, I was only a few feet away from a collision with the other. In every case, I braked, and moved on to the next object(s) running, turning, driving, flying/falling towards me. I was glad to turn into the parking lot at church at go inside!

I don't think I have ever been to an Ash Wednesday service before. If so, I don't remember it. But, that doesn't mean much these days.

In the last few moments of the service, each one of us stood in turn and put the ashes on the forehead of the one next to him or her. Each one spoke the name, and said, "From dust we came. To dust we will return. May your journey lead you to wholeness."

I am exhausted. I am going to bed now with a textbook to read about cardiovascular and respiratory problems. I am certain I will be asleep before 8pm.