Ongoing Stories of My Soul

Look over my shoulder as I ponder life.

A Simpler Parade

I think that I kind of sleep-walk through life. I know there are world events happening as I eat my bowl of Cocoa Krispies, but I just don’t feel that pull to get all….involved.

Maybe it’s my age. Or my laziness. Or the fact that I used to be on the cutting edge of pop music, fashion, political news, and now I am just like an old movie: the best scenes are laying on the cutting room floor. Sigh.

But that’s okay. My little old brain and body just can’t take the strain of the excitement life has to offer. For example…I will bake a cake for my son’s friends as they gather for ‘March Madness’ and cheer on their favorite teams. I love their annual get-togethers! As I sat down to type this, I caught a bit of ticker tape news that IU beat the Owls. Hmmm. I have a degree from IU but I really like studying owls. The basketball game is no real news to me. See how much high blood pressure I am saving not watching that nail-biter?  Yeah…I think I used up all of my cheers and whistles at my kids’ little league games. And that was for me getting four kids to the field on time with the proper uniform and equipment. And if I grabbed dirty uniform pants from the pile of laundry, I would just comment to other moms at the field: “Look at that. He just put those pants on and they have grass stains on them already!” I’m thinking they knew the game I was playing; they were playing it too! Too much laundry, too little time. Fake it until you make it.

I have already shared my take on weather and the daily news. By the time it gets to me it is just a blip on the screen and I have escaped all the hype. I have serious work to do…like grading papers, planning lessons for children’s sermons and youth group, and figuring out which dog chewed up the mail. I worry over serious issues such as: which shoes will I wear today that won’t make my feet hurt. Or, if my butt looks too big to wear that sweater. And if I can find that book in time for my grandkid to use it in a research report.

There comes a time in most folks’ lives where it is fine to step out of the dance,  climb down off the float, and just watch the parade go by. I am content with sitting on the sidelines and cheering. I have been on the float, and it is great fun! And no, I did not fall off. But, being  the spectator instead of the participant is just as gratifying for this soul.

While I have returned to the classroom for the rest of this school year, it is good to know that I have not lost all the sparkle of being an educator. But I find the tug to be a bit different. Instead of just wallowing in self defeat over test scores and quizzes, I hunger to listen to the boy’s conversation over his parents’ divorce, or to put words to the tears of a young gal enduring foster care. It is far more important to me to create a climate of calm and acceptance when these 7th and 8th graders walk into my room. They have enough on their heads and hearts. Oh sure, I still cram curriculum into their day, but allowing them to use my hand lotion or loan them a buck for lunch money is just as important. My philosophy in the classroom was always this: to teach other peoples’ kids the way I wanted my own to be taught and treated. Compassion and forgiveness goes a long way in public education. As does a good laugh in the classroom. Giggles are part of my educational standards.

So if you call me and say, “Did you hear about….???” don’t think I am being globally ignorant or have lost my international savvy. It is not that I don’t care…it is just that I don’t care as much. I DO want my Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra to be funded, and I do thrive on listening to my NPR, and I will sneak a peek at YouTube videos to see a Katie Couric interview with Hugh Jackman or Jon Bon Jovi. I will serve my local community in a soup kitchen or buy Christmas gifts for the kids of strangers; but I can live without the mainstream of the world flowing into my kitchen. Oh wait! I think that is my leaky faucet.

But you get my focus. I have chosen a simpler life and I am content to find joy in those everyday blessings which surround me. If I don’t jump up to send a text, tweet, tin can message to Congress, that is just fine. I still vote, so there. My mission may be to help a stranger, even though I thought my purpose in life would end if I did not run a mission on the space shuttle.

I am happy that you meet me here on these pages and you look over my shoulder while I ponder life. I have lived many lives in the fifty-seven years I have wandered this planet. And sitting back and watching from the curb is just as rewarding.

But if I do get bored, you know where I’ll be. Wearing an ugly red dress, white hat and gloves and waving from that float in the Parade of Life.

Until then….I am not letting life interfere with my nap. Yeah; I have arrived.


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