Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Hope in a World of Quiet Desperation

I have to confess.  I have not been living deliberately lately.  I have been eeking out life moment by moment just trying to make my body do what my mind tells me I need to do.  Not listening to what my spirit is telling me to do.

I have depression, and I have anxiety.  I am a mess most of the time and the world never really knows it.  Hiding behind a smile is what I do best.  I have lived most of my life knowing my weakness and trying to battle the voices in my head that tell me how life is going wrong.  I have noticed that I get worse around October and tend to suffer through the Holidays.  My idea of a great Thanksgiving and Christmas is spending quiet moments in a far away land.  I've also realized that being a teacher is mostly to blame for this Seasonal Affective Disorder.  During the winter months, I am not able to take care of myself because I am stressed about taking care of others people's teenagers.  I need sunlight and exercise and quietness when October rolls around, but my life just starts to get messy around that time.

I need a different pattern.  I need freedom to work when I am at my best and rest and write when I need quiet.  I need to be able to sit outside and soak up the sun, go for a walk, or listen to nature during the day.  Instead, I wake up when it is dark, arrive at work as the sun starts to peak over the horizon.  I spend most of my day in a room with cold, cement walls and no windows.  It is LITERALLY depressing.

To live deliberately means to take a hold of every moment and relish in them.  To create your own paths and set out to accomplish your dreams.  Well, hope for my dreams is the only thing I have right now.  I dream with and for my students.  I share what great minds and poets have said that life can offer.  I teach hearts and souls and wounded kids from broken homes.  I suffer with teenagers trying to find their way in this world.  It is hard.  It is what I was sent to this earth to do, so why does it have to break me, body and spirit?

This morning I trudged to the shower after another long night of anxiety ridden insomnia.  I have to mentally prepare myself for the day by reviewing what I will do to survive the many obstacles in my path:  "How can I face those 9th graders today?  I am showing a movie!  First and second period: have a discussion on point of view; I know I can at least get through that this morning.  The end of the day.... I just have to survive to the end and then I can come home and sleep.  I can't stay home because the boys have to go to school.  Thomas has a field trip today; he is excited about school today."  Then a thought occurred to me, my home, my trailer, my house on wheels can take me where ever I want to go when the time comes.  When I finally decide to take hold of every moment and relish in what life is bringing me, I CAN!

That is what living in a 5th wheel trailer has done for me.  It has given me hope.  There is a future where I will write the book I want to write.  There is a future where I will be able to sit in my living room and look out over vistas and then work from home.  A future of traveling the country is possible.  This life allows me to dream without anxiety.  I am allowed to at least see how my life can be lived deliberately, even if today I am just surviving.

"The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things..”    --Henry David Thoreau