It has been many months since I’ve felt the pull to sit down and write on this blog. The last time I wrote, you read about my very first classroom full of Kindergartners, both in-person and online. We chatted about how the girls and Rusty were doing together, the growth of the veggie garden and how I was taking advantage of everything it was offering. I showed you updates on the house and how much we were really enjoying giving this home our own touch, and we talked about us finding new places to enjoy in our neighborhood.
I keep my posts as light as I can. I do not want to inject what the world is going through to you via my screen; you already know what’s going on and most likely, you’ve been hurt in one way or another from one of the many obstacles the past year has thrown at us. Throughout the year, I’ve been struggling to keep the weight of the world out of my thoughts, my everyday conversations, and my heart, not because it’s too much to accept or deal with, but because there is enormous division within my world. The person I was a year ago, is not the person I am today.
This past year we have been confronted with sudden and unexpected death, communities falling apart, families dividing, friendships torn, beliefs being challenged, and the seedy underbelly of our beloved country. Sometimes I can’t sleep; the rage and sadness keeps me up and I turn to Harry Potter or gardening books for comfort and stability. Sometimes simple chats with Paul have turned to deep existential conversations, both of us challenging each other with new beliefs and bonding over old, familiar values. We have clung to each other when it seems the floor is giving out, when we feel the separation from loved ones grow even further. We become excited and hopeful when we think of the future and how, hopefully, things will begin to look a bit more “normal,” when hugs are given and visits are welcome.
Even though there is a heavy weight looming overhead, I’ve discovered some goodness. My outlook on humankind has drastically changed. I have more empathy, I yearn to help more and to do good for all people. When we were watching Christmas movies on a quiet Christmas Eve, I realized that we watch how others keep Christmas spirit all year round, and we cry happy tears when we see Scrooge begin to love people and be generous with his wealth, but what have I done to keep Christmas spirit alive all year round? Besides giving gifts to my family, what acts of selflessness do I do? How do I help those less fortunate? What have I done to keep others in my heart? They are questions that continue to weigh on my mind and help turn my compass towards who I want to be in this world.
In moments of sadness when news channels were showing the worst of humans, I would think of the brief beginning scene of Love Actually, when Hugh Grant describes the arrival gates at Heathrow being filled with people full of love, hugging and kissing; how when the Twin Towers were hit in 2001 there were phone calls from passengers to family and friends relaying messages of love. Not hate. Not revenge. There is love in this world. And there is goodness. And there is beauty. I would hate to lose that hope, wouldn’t you?
It has been a balancing act (that I haven’t quite mastered) of learning to accept the way the world and humans can be while also realizing that there is an abundance of goodness and beauty and love. Perhaps it helps to be around little children all day, because even when we talk about the dark periods of our world, they are still able to find joy and excitement. They do not deter themselves from learning new things and experiencing more about the world, rather they remain curious and resilient.
When we talk about slavery and segregation, they talk about how they would feel, and are shocked that people could and can think that way, but then they cheer for people that have helped our world overcome those things in so many ways. They dance and sing to Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald, they see themselves in Ruby Bridges and remind each other that all are welcome in our classroom – a message they insisted we put on the outside of our room. And instead of being cautious or scared of new places around the world, they continue to ask me when we can take a field trip to Asia, to Antarctica, or to Europe. They want to see their favorite animals in Africa, watch the Chinese lanterns float high in the sky in China, climb the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and have picnics under cherry blossom trees in Japan. They are able to see the goodness in everything, something they keep reminding me without even realizing they are doing so.
It still doesn’t feel right to me yet, to blog about everyday life as if nothing has happened and life is carefree, but it feels good to have this written down. This blog feels like a branch off of my own diaries and if I were to write about wall colors and flowers before addressing how I’m feeling, it would feel entirely pointless and full of fluff. I’m hoping now I’ll feel more inclined to sit down and write on here, even if for a few paragraphs, to show you what I’ve been painting, how the movie Groundhog Day has never been more relevant, and other odds and ends about life.
I taught at home today, due to the cold, and now that the lessons are over it’s time for a large pot of tea and my other diary. :) I hope you have a wonderful rest of your week, friend. And I hope you are also able to find some goodness and beauty in this world. Cheers to warmer weather, bright buds, and the sound of birds hopefully coming soon to a home near you. :)
(I wrote this on Monday…took awhile to actually publish it. :))