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Archive for July, 2009

(They Might Not Need Me –

Yet They Might)

 

They might not need me – yet they might –

I’ll let my heart be just in sight –

A smile so small as mine might be

Precisely their necessity-

 

Emily Dickinson

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I’ve been thinking a lot about admiration and aspiration these days. I am a person who cannot admire without also aspiring to become what I admire. I am not content to simply admire most traits – I want them for myself. I suppose this is a sort of covetousness, but I don’t mean it in a material sense. If someone possesses a trait that I admire, I feel compelled to try to attain to it myself. It seems, when pondering this issue, that there are no traits that I admire that I do not desire to have myself….I can’t think of a quality that I admire that I don’t want to possess. For example, if I see someone who is known for their thoughtfulness, it inspires me to try and be more thoughtful. I have to actively pursue thoughfulness. I am convinced that many excellent character traits are habits that people have formed through discipline. Character is a victory, not a gift. Have you ever met someone who has the capacity for admiration but not for aspiration? Someone who can admire a particular quality in a friend, but then excuses himself from having to ever aspire to it by saying, “I could never be like that…” How many people sell themselves short of their potential by never making the step from admiration to aspiration? Is it too much work? Do they simply lack the drive, the discipline? Why have they been taught to settle for mediocrity? It breaks my heart to hear someone speak such defeated words about themselves, especially when it shows a lifetime of self-esteem issues…You see the phrase “Come as you are” on so many church bulletin boards…yes, come as you are, but then change! Don’t stay the way you were – we all need to grow! Aspire! Our society is obsessed with insisting that people be loved for who they are…and this is a good thing. However, the person who refuses to change on the basis that he ought to be loved for who he is will find himself left whining in the dust while others have moved beyond.  Don’t be content to simply admire. That’s too easy. Anyone can do that. Add some aspiration into the mix!

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Disillusionment

For the last two years I have felt like I was living for the day when I would “get my life back” (as I termed it). This referred to the day when I would be finished with nursing school, have a major HURDLE behind me, and return to my pre-nursing school life and brain.  Ah…the dreams of youth. Yes, my brain has been somewhat freed, however, still having to study for boards and with 25 days of classes (in the form of the Residency program) ahead of me, I realize that the studying still continues on – at least for a while. As far as having more time, that  hasn’t really happened yet. True, my hours are somewhat more my own now that homeschooling is over for a couple of months, but all the things that have been left undone for two years are calling my name, making my to-do list rather daunting. I’m reaching some rather startling and discouraging conclusions these days …and I’m working on an itemized list. The first realization is that my house will not be clean for years. I have two small children whose sole aim in life is to mess it up. It is tidy (most of the time), and different parts of it are clean at different times, but it seems that I will have to content myself with a state of “rotating cleanliness” at least for the present. One cannot be a homeschooling mother who also works (full time, for now) and have a spotless house….but oh…I long to walk into spotless rooms! Another realization is that I am likely to be very tired for several years yet to come. My life is exhausting. I don’t see any way around it. I may have to retire and have empty nest before I can actually get caught up on my sleep….and this is leaving another child out of the equation! Realization number three is that it is likely to be several months before I get my life to anything resembling manageable. I cannot see my way clear to not have to work full time nights at least until Christmas, unless the Lord works another miracle (doesn’t He get tired of me asking for those?). This is a rather daunting thought as I am worn out from the past two years and feel sadly lacking in the stamina that is required for starting a new job. I am little frustrated to feel that even though I have completed the schooling, I am still waiting for the pot of gold – the time when I can work minimally and have the time to enjoy raising my children at the same time. I cherish my hours at home….it’s truly where I would rather be. I am frustrated to still have things to dread ahead of me – I am so tired of dread. I often wonder if other people live with this much dread. 

That being said, I’m am thrilled to be done with school. At least the things I dread at this point have a paycheck attached to them. Working minimally is only months away, and the residency will be enjoyable with so many friends to share it with.  I’m just worried at fitting everything in. Things suffer…and I hate to see it.

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Wanted to share this poem – it’s been one of my favorites for a long time, and I find myself remembering it often…

Suspended

by Denise Levertov

 

I had grasped God’s garment in the void

but my hand slipped

on the rich silk of it

The “everlasting arms” my sister loved to remember

must have upheld my leaden weight

from falling, even so,

for though I claw at empty air and feel

nothing, no embrace,

I have not plummetted.

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I’ve been reading Michael Crichton’s “Travels” and have found much to think about and ponder…I loved this – after climbing Kilimanjaro, he writes, “I realized then that I had defined myself too narrowly. The experience of climbing Kilimanjaro affected me so powerfully that, for a long time afterward, if I caught myself saying, “I’m not a person who likes to do that activity, eat that food, listen to that music,” I would automatically go out and do what I imagined I didn’t like. Generally, I found I was wrong about myself – I liked what I thought I wouldn’t like. And if I didn’t like the particular experience, I learned I liked having new experiences.”

I loved reading this because I it succinctly defined a feeling that I’ve always had, yet challenged me at the same time.  Although I have always enjoyed new experiences, I recognized that often the experiences I consented to fell within a certain comfort zone. Often enough, I have refused a new experience out of fear or a fairly vague feeling that  I wouldn’t enjoy it. To a certain extent,  self-delusion played a part – I felt as though I was being adventurous, but if it fell within a preexisting comfort zone, it was neither truly adventurous nor brave. Here is where the challenge came in…immediately having read this, I remembered several things I had been loathe to try, and vowed that I would try them – there was no legitimate reason why I shouldn’t other than the aformentioned vague discomfort with the idea. The other temptation when dealing with this trait is to compare yourself with others. Yes, compared to a certain population, I am exceedingly adventurous. However, I am not as apt to try new things as I feel I should be.  To meet my personal goals for growth and development, I need to be more willing to try something a more daunting, and practice what I am constantly preaching – that growth only occurs outside of your comfort zone. I have no intention of making my life a quest for new, daring adventures – I am no Evel Kneival,  and the thought of doing somthing like eating a live octopus is just plain ridiculous. I won’t forsake common sense. However, I won’t let prejudice stop me from trying new things any longer.

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