March Writing Challenge Day 11: No One Remembers Last Year’s To-Do Lists

Everything seems fine. This morning we all woke up and enjoyed the early hours, ate breakfast, read a couple of books and went our separate ways for the day.

I had a great workout at the gym. Got real sweaty. I enjoyed a much needed food boost of two eggs and a piece of Ezekiel bread, the kind with the raisins and cinnamon. It was so delicious.

I washed myself off, cleaned our bedroom and started my work.

All is well, right?

I don’t know. For some reason, I feel sad; perhaps a little overwhelmed. Last week was kind of a disaster. Abe started the week off with a bad case of strep. He was out of commission for the whole week. Taking care of him was quite a pleasure, because we had many moments of cuddling. It was still exhausting, nonetheless. More so emotional than physical, but one affects the other. I also put quite a bit of anxiety and stress on myself last week, struggling with what people thought of me as a mom, as a part of a group, and as a person in general.

You know how one week it is so easy to believe in who you are as God’s child, and then the very next week that’s all dashed to pieces and you cannot make yourself, with all of your will, believe better?

That was last week. I’m better now, but my body feels faint. Self-inflicted anxiety really does a number on this girl.

Sometimes life calls for rest. It’s so difficult for me to answer that call when there are tasks and responsibilities piling up and people depending on me. The fear of judgement from others for  simply taking a nap is just TOO much to handle! Gosh, as if anyone even needs to know about me taking a nap. What a weirdo.

Maybe I’m afraid of the judgement I’ll place on myself.

But I know that this time next year, my to-do list for today won’t even be a distant memory, because it ultimately isn’t important in the grand scheme of life.

Do you ever think about that? Can you remember a to-do list from this day last year?

Of course not.

I’m feeling the weight of last week. I’m overwhelmed. I’m going to go lay down and rest.

And that is that.

March Writing Challenge Day 7: That Damned Wrong Side of the Bed

Failure and I meet again in this place

Even now it seems I’m failing as I fill up this blank paper’s space

I have no idea what day it is

And I don’t really even care

This day has my permission to be over now

Tired of being caught in the devil’s snare

I call myself a creative writer

But I can tell by her passive look

That on her college degree standards

She’d scoff if I told her I’d like to write a book

And then sometimes I can literally just be breathing

And someone’s gonna find fault in that

Angry, bitter, jealous little liars

Enemies I feel I must combat

I fail and fail over and over again

Try to set my own bones, hoping for just one small win

I insist, most days, that I do this on my own

Hence the perpetual failures

I’m like a plant that refuses to grow

On days like today I find myself hating my sin condition

Which means on all the other days

I ‘m too loud and too proud to listen

I go on thinking that I’m all right, I’ve got it together

Which urges me to condemn my fellow soldier

And right through that gracious love I sever

Cut in half the gift I didn’t deserve

Well, if I refuse to take it

Why would I ever give it to her

This is so filthy

Downright shameful to even share

But I’ll make myself share it anyway

And in doing so lay that shame bare

I don’t feel much better

In fact, I’m more exhausted than before

I need you so deeply, Jesus

Remind me of your love once more.

March Writing Challenge Day 6: Little Girl You’re in the Middle of the Ride

Jimmy Eat World Bleed American

I remember walking into my Algebra 2 class on one particular morning, the stench of 10th grade stinging my sleep-filled eye balls. I went through the normal, inescapable motions before school, which involved getting up way too early and eating sugary cereal that left me hungry by 9. Getting up at 6 to be at the bus stop by 6:45 in the a.m. never ceased to be taxing. I sat down in that olive green chair, feeling the weight of yesterday’s math test begin to pile on my shoulders. But nevertheless, I laid my head down on the cold, wooden desk in hopes that life would grant me a few more moments of unconscious obliviousness  before the wretched day began.

My teacher, Mr. So-and-So ( I can’t for the life of me remember his name) walked in with his shirt barely tucked into his oversized khaki slacks, hair all over the place, and a somewhat disappointed look on his face. Let me talk about this guy’s hair for a moment, because even though it made him look incredibly goofy, there was something so accessible about it. He had one of those mushroom cuts, but it came down the side of his cheeks and met right at his jaw line. Just a smidgen too long. There wasn’t another teacher in all my fifteen years of life that had such a hair cut; that kind of style was probably considered unprofessional. But this guy… you could tell he fell hard into the 90’s, and never really came back up. I loved that.

When the last bell rang, he walked slowly up to the front of the class and gave the entire room a look-over, as if he was preparing himself for some kind of farewell speech. The next part scared me a little. He didn’t say anything. He just started handing out tests from the day prior. He seemed to become more sluggish after putting each piece of paper down, desk after desk. No one muttered a word.

After the last test was handed back, he sauntered back up to the front of the gray room, and proceeded to tell us how he was fairly disappointed with the way our scores came out. Apparently no one in the class got higher than a D, which was kind of shocking. We were a decent class that managed to produce pretty high grades. That test just happened to get the best of us this time around. I will say that I was somewhat relieved knowing that we had dropped the ball as a whole. We all went down in flames together.

Typically, Mr. So-and-so would go on with a lecture about the meaning of life (according to his experience) and how we can apply this said truth to math. We all expected this to happen, but no one was really in the mood for it. Apparently, neither was he, because he proceeded to do one of the coolest things a teacher has ever done.

With a little more pep in his step, he shuffled over to his black boom box and said, “this is how I feel about you guys today,” and pressed play.

“The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World began to fill our ears.

Hey, don’t write yourself off yet, it’s only in your head you feel left out or looked down on. Just try your best, try everything you can, and don’t you worry what they tell themselves when you’re away…”

Some of us started to lift our heads, a few began to crack a smile, and a couple of students even laughed a little. When the chorus rolled around, a few of us started to sing along like we were all of a sudden transported into a cheesy high school musical (not to be confused with the actual “High School Musical”).

“It just takes some time, little girl you’re in the middle of the ride. Everything, everything will be just fine, everything, everything will be alright, alright…”

Mr. So-and-S0 let the tune play out all the way through, and then started teaching as if that awful test had never happened. Student’s faces beamed, feeling lifted up. Heck, even myself in all my hatred for school, felt refreshed and encouraged.

It dawned on me sitting in that freezing cold, prison cell-like classroom at the butt crack of dawn that what that man just did was something a good leader does. Figuring out the attributes and characteristics of a leader wasn’t even on my radar yet, for my mind was mainly focused on the guy I had a crush on and the homemade nachos I was going to make when I got home and watched Boy Meets World re-runs. But that morning, that morning that felt so familiar, so much like every other dreadful morning, turned out to be a little different from the rest.

A display of grace took place. It didn’t happen at church, where that word was constantly mentioned. It didn’t happen at home, where the heart is supposed to be but was not for me. It happened at Southridge Senior High School in my 10th grade Algebra 2 class, surrounded by the people I struggled to relate with and love.

My most unexpected of places.