Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ahhh... The Light

Is it true that darkness makes the presence of light that much more beautiful?

I recently met one of the most pompous, close-minded, irreverent, and demeaning people I've ever known in my life. He seethes arrogance. It disgusts me to be near him.

This meeting is not by chance. I know that this is an important marker for me in learning what effect we have on the people around us. I want to be someone that people feel comfortable approaching. I want to be someone that people breathe easy around. I want to communicate well. I want to honor the people around me. I want to have respectful and perspective-minded disagreements. I want to remember that I do not ever have all the answers and that I have much to learn from those around me. I want to serve those around me - not to behave entitled as though I own them. I want to be gentle with people. I want to make wise, informed decisions. Above all, I want to be genuine.

The future is bright.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Better Changes

There is no better way to be thankful for your body than to use it.

I have always hated running, but I've gradually worked my way into it. I wouldn't go so far as to say that I love it. But at least now I don't dread it as I did. This week, I completed three workouts. This particular day was a one-half hour session on a treadmill. I had just bumped my speed up by 1/2 mile an hour. When I finished, I felt fantastic. I had maintained a solid pace: one that allowed me to push myself but was comfortable enough that I didn't feel like I was about to throw up. I only slowed my pace so I could stay hydrated.

It's amazing what we can do if we just decide to do it. Although my routine seems somewhat mediocre to more intense runners, I have come a long, long way. I am so proud of this change in my lifestyle. And I'm excited to be aiming for a bigger goal: my first triathalon. My goal is to do it well.

The last month has seen a number of changes in the way that I've functioned. I am proud of every single one of them. I'm not just becoming a better person because of the situations I encounter, but now better changes are coming because I am deciding to live my life in a new way. I love it. I'm not scrambling to keep up with my life anymore. This is in fact the only year that New Year's resolutions have truly changed the way I function. I am overwhelmingly proud of my progress this month and I'm looking forward to celebrating two months of wonderful change at the end of February.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Year Ago

It's about that time of year. I remember hearing on New Year's Eve 2008 that Rob had been moved to hospice. For the rest of the night, that's just about all I could think about.

The days went by. I went up to visit him. And one day, he died. As I read back through my blog at that time, I recall my grief and my relief - simultaneous, as strange as that may seem. I remember thinking that I could count on one dear friend in particular for consolation, but that turned out not to be true. That sunk very deep.

I barely knew Adam. We had just begun dating. Yet he held me in his arms and asked about Rob. He asked for me to tell him stories. He let me cry. He let me tell him all the things I missed about Rob. What he did that evening has stuck with me and I think that's the first time I realized how truly good Adam is.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Adam has been gone for just over a month. I miss him lots, of course. But truly, this month has been quite good. Skype is a relationship-saver, in my opinion. All that body language goes unsaid over the phone. The way he smiles. What he is wearing. What his house looks like. The way it's almost like we are making eye-contact. It's all important when it's all you have.

I hit a road bump and got all insecure yesterday. I couldn't sleep. I freaked out a bit. I think it's normal in any relationship. The whole "what if" game. I hate that.

Tristan Prettyman sings a song - Simple As It Should Be. It's the title of my blog because it puts me in a good frame of mind. It takes me from that place of insecurity to a place of contentment.

"I don't think that we should ever feel the need to worry. Ever get ourselves in a hurry." And suddenly I can breathe a little deeper and a little slower. I had to remind myself of these things. The song, Steady As We Go by Dave Matthews is another anchor song. It re-routes my perspective, pulling me back to the right frame of mind.

It's not easy having him gone. But it's building a new dimension to our relationship. For that, I'm grateful.

He's the chocolate sauce to my bowl of vanilla.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Perspective of the Very Last

It’s interesting to think about the very last. Do I remember the last time I sailed on a boat? Or the last time I laid in the warm sunshine? Do I remember the last time I drew my fingers across guitar strings? What about the last time I smiled at a particular person I know? Or bought macaroni and cheese? Some of these things are monumental memories. And some are just daily occurrences. Some are memorable and others just melt into that mush of experiences I can vaguely recall.

I think about every little opportunity that comes my way during a typical day. In the life of a teacher, there are thousands every HOUR. Thousands of opportunities to make a tiny impact to hundreds of little minds and hearts every day… every hour… every minute. How is it that these opportunities sliiiiiiiiiiide by and I find myself at the end of the day having taken advantage of one or two of those opportunities?

I have a quote framed by my desk. It is from the noted author, Henry David Thoreau: “To affect the quality of the day… That is the highest of the arts.” Every single person who has touched my life in a memorable way has aligned with this philosophy. This is the ideal that I strive for… and fall short of.

I remember the very last time I saw one of my students before he passed away later that day. He was wearing a knight’s clothing. Breastplate, helmet, sword, and carried a shield. Halloween is a time of celebration in an elementary school. He was the first to have his turn in a game that day. I remember being really glad I had started with him that day in the game. It’s the little things that soothe us when we lose someone. I remember sitting at my desk with tears splashing across my plan book. “At least he had his turn in the game,” I thought.

I wonder if this was my last semester of teaching, how would I do it? What would I change? I would smile every student into the room and tell them how glad I was that they had come to visit me and to learn with me that day. I have a great friend who is a wonderful musician. One day he gave me the best advice – “When you sing, sing as though it’s the last time you will ever sing.”

When I teach, teach as though it’s the last time I will ever teach. When I listen, listen as though it’s the last time I will ever listen. When I love, love as though it’s the last time I will ever love.

THAT is how I will live this day.