Saving Grace


September 9, 2022- I woke this morning, after a vivid dream, in which I had overextended myself, while working in what was a mishmash of high school and university. My first hour class was a high level physics class, in which nearly thirty students submitted intensely detailed project synopses. As they left, I was organizing the submissions into a manageable stack, then realized that I needed to be across campus in short order, to conduct a physical education class, which had not met for two weeks-because I was too involved with the first hour. Surely, the P.E. students had given up on their wretch of an instructor. A visiting professor from Canada appeared and wondered aloud, as to why I had not delegated more to Teaching Assistants-“since that seems to be an American thing”.

It was then that I woke and realized that I had no such responsibilities, and was not going to let anyone down, today, and for the foreseeable future. My substituting tasks are pretty cut and dried, mostly at the upper elementary level, so there is scant chance that any such negligence will be my lot.

In other parts of my life, there is a nagging feeling that I have let people down, by not being where they seem to expect me to be. On the one hand, it is a fine thing to be needed, but on the other, I know that my obligations are primarily to the Creator, then to my own health and sanity, and to family, and only then to the outstretched hands. Someone I admire and respect has seemingly, and unfortunately, taken the brevity of my recent visit as a sign of disinterest on my part, and cut off contact. This is bound to happen, fairly regularly, as the world’s transition to a society at once more connected and yet composed more of self-reliant individuals, struggles to find the balance between those who are self-reliant and those who are needy.

The saving grace, as I was reminded by a dining companion at lunch today, is to recognize that not everyone’s demands of us have an inherent sense of urgency-even when histrionics are employed. My work in this community, and further afield, will stand on its own merits. This is the best that I, or anyone else, can offer.