My big goal and motto in life is from the Bible. Philippians 4:11. “For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” The advantages to this mind-set are both immediate and far-reaching. They’re also a kind of life-saver. It saved me from … myself. from society, too.
[And here I sit, typing, erasing, stilted. To describe accurately? vaguely? Or, not at all? Even describing this description, I find myself just cycling through the options. I could just write in a journal, but I don’t have anything to fear from that audience — the first ingredient for sloppy writing. which is no good.]
To be content. Whatever state I am in.
When Crystal died, this meant: Grieving is okay. Let the pain swallow you whole — wholly. Eagerness to change the state of grief is like walking on a broken leg before it’s healed — a misunderstood idea of progress that ends up haunting you over the years. I’ve been purged of the eating-you-away variety of acid pain…but some in my family are still suffering. It drives me crazy — both because I’m mad at them for still hurting…but also because I still feel pings of guilt that I am so (relatively) free of the hurt. Survivor’s guilt. in a very real sense.
Why am I talking about this? This post was supposed to be about me being content — instead of impatient! — with the irrefutable fact that there are three weeks left until I am officially done being an English teacher. And an undergraduate. I began dreading student teaching back in … January 2010?, when I began the program. And here I am, at the end of it…but three weeks still feels like hundreds of individual hours spliced into planning, presenting, questioning, sighing. I’m trying to be content with where I am — it’s an incessant mindset I’ve been working towards. But still … The first page of my binder is a [dingdingding! Do we have an answer?].
There are so many things I am content with — a whole spectrum of things: some that I’m content with naturally, others that I had to work towards, and others that I had a big realization that I am content with. And I’ve embraced all these things fully (perhaps too fully?): being married, being childless, apartment-style living, being students, and the list goes on.
And still there are other things … or, Other Thing, that I am not content with. To be precise, I am content that I am NOT content with Other Thing. And, that just leads to a whole domino stack of UNcontent. And when the last domino falls, all that really matters is one thing:
I am alone.
family. friends. neighbors. community.
Has someone invented an e-mail address for god yet? firstname.lastname@example.org, maybe?
Thank you for always belaying me when I’ve taken those great leaps of faith. But this last time? When you forgot the rope?
I’m still falling.”
It’s been months. Still free-falling. It’s cold. I spend time thinking about those hours begging you to not make me jump. Am wondering: Did I ever actually jump? Wasn’t it more of a shove from behind? Jerk.”
I can wait.”
This state I am in? UNcontent.