March 23, 2011

Partly Cloudy, Partly Sunny

Well, as I read all your blogs, you all seem to be having a marvelous time.  You are teaching, forging new links and relationships, making new discoveries, writing writing writing on a seemingly superhuman plain.  I, on the other hand, felt very mortal yesterday.  In fact the day began in tears.  The storm had been gathering for a couple of days, dark clouds rolling in, then clearing, then rolling in again.  I didn't know if it was going to rain inside me or if it would all pass over.  Winter blahs?  Maybe.  Downtime from a busy visit from my daughter? Perhaps.  Dysthymia? Possibly.  But whatever it was, the tears persisted into mid-morning, when I finally shook them off doing the mundane: ordering a cake at Costco for my husband's office party.  Back into routine, the bluesy feeling left, and the emotional skies cleared.

My husband called and asked me out to dinner, knowing my day was on a roller coaster.  We took the really long way down to the restaurant, finding some new vistas on a road we rarely travel on.  The sunset, shining through the clouds, was beautiful, so we stopped and snapped some photos with our phones.

The reality of my life is this: my career will exist in a tiny community college, one classroom at a time.  I'll never grace the cover of Vogue.  I'll probably never find the answer for the world's troubles.  I won't solve the problem of cancer.  And when I compare myself to others, or expect the same production level that I had when I was younger and more filled with hope and idealism, or try to accomplish what only a staff of six could do in one of those fancy shelter magazines, I will probably have a stormy day.  I can, however, when I work my way back into my routine, find peace within--one moment at a time.

One quiet sunset at a time.





18 comments:

  1. Your writing coveys the inner storm very well. I'm glad it ended well for you.

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  2. Elizabeth, I have always tried to live by the maxim, that we should deal with the things over which we have some control and let go of the rest. Sometimes I am true to my word, sometimes, I need to remind myself to let go of the matters beyond me. Your internal convolutions were captured honestly and accurately in this piece. I wish you the 'peace' to resolve these matters to your satisfaction. Your final line is cause for much optimism for this reader.

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  3. Elizabeth,
    When my grandmother was very young, she had what she called a breakdown. While I was growing up as a teenager and struggling with my family and myself, she gave me this piece of advice: When your troubles overwhelm you, go back to nature. Get your hands in the soil, walk in the woods and hear the leaves crunch, pick flowers, watch the wild animals, return to your roots. When I heard you refer to your inner turmoil as a storm and then I saw your photo I knew you too were aware of my grandmother's advice even if you did not know her.

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  4. I surely hope the world settles down for you. Your last line ... beautiful. If I write a line that once in a while, I am happy. I hope that line filters into your days.
    Kevin

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  5. Dear Elizabeth,
    You wrote this personal post with such honesty. I find that tears are healthy. I am glad you took the long way to the restaurant and mother nature had a chance to soothe you. Beautiful last line.
    Terje

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  6. Thank you for your response to my blog - this month seems to be my "come to Jesus" month of humbling moments.
    Your entry here and your reminder about sunsets is worthy of revisiting time and time again. Again, thank you.

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  7. One quiet sunset at a time...that's the key for us all. What an honest slice Elizabeth. I feel like you do even if I might not write about it here. I love reading your blog posts and always walk away with something...so thank YOU!
    BOnnie

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  8. So realistic! We all have these kinds of days, and somehow we pull out of them. Usually with the help of chocolate, for me!

    I started out taking courses at community college part-time while I worked. Being able to take these courses relatively cheaply made all the difference for me at the time! I am grateful for that system (which, incidentally doesn't exist in Canada.)

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  9. Elizabeth,
    Thank you for writing this. I agree with Kevin, your last line is beautiful and powerful. The
    image of a storm within is vivid and connects me as a reader. I'm very thankful our paths have crossed through this challenge.
    Ruth

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  10. It's special that you took the time to tell the experience, how you felt pretty low, how you felt even worse, how you went about the day as if everything could proceed anyway. I think I might have just crawled back under the covers. What a nice husband you must have, & how good that you could find a streak of goodness to hang on to.

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  11. Elizabeth,
    Wow! You have no idea how much your post today connects with exactly how my day went. I just sat down at home after completely blowing up at my class because of their complete disregard for the seriousness of what they should be doing and was trying to decide if I wanted to post about how angry they had made me. After reading your post, I have some hope that my own angry and sad and disappointed skies will clear up....and that's when I will post.

    In optimism,
    Carrie

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  12. We can all support you because we have all gone through times like this off and on. You are fortunate to have a husband who is sensitive to your needs and takes some time to cheer you. I tell my kids as adults, decide what is important right now, and go from there. Thanks for sharing your sensitive side with us.

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  13. Forgot--we are definitely a community of writers!

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  14. Tam said it all, we are a community of writers! I truly appreciate this community! I have been where you are and I have my times. I just haven't been honest enough to share the way I feel on some days. I am glad you were able to do that here. People responded to you with concern and compassion! I'm glad you had nature to look to and friends! Your husband is a sweetheart too. Sometimes we don't appreciate what we have - I'm talking about myself- not necessarily you. Hope tomorrow is better! Happy slicing! :)

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  15. Beautiful picture. You conveyed your feelings so well with words. I have trouble finding the words to express those deep emotions. thank you for giving me words for days when I have those emotions. Thank you for being so brave to share them with this writing community. :)

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  16. I find it so difficult to write about negative emotions. When I am down, I avoid writing completely. I think it is because I really have to face my emotions head on when I write. You have handled it beautifully. I am glad to have connected with you again this year!

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  17. The way you ended this slice left me with a feeling of peace.

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  18. I enjoyed these powerful, universal insights. There is something healing in the forces of nature, isn't there? Being "quiet" also adds its own strength.

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