My Favorite Things

I find myself blogging when I’m blue. Perhaps it’s because I’m Mr. “No Confrontation” and when I’m blue I like to be alone. Perhaps it because I like to express myself and this is a solitary forum. Perhaps Word Press is just cheaper than a shrink. I don’t know.

We’re a mere week away from holding our doors back and sweeping in a new group of students who are currently wiping Chronic Taco from their chins and avoiding their summer work.  Just seven days until P.M. duties…staff meetings…progress reports…and that beast of a paper cutter in the photocopy room. The thing is my nemesis. I don’t like it for the same reason I don’t like horses….they try to bite me. I swear if they ever find my cold, dead body in the hallowed halls of Faith Lutheran….there will be a trail of blood leading back to that stinkin’ paper cutter. Rrrr.

Anyway…I suppose I’m a bit discourage at myself. You see last year, I got an administrative write-up. (Insert joke here…yes, things haven’t changed that much from when I was in high school!) But in all seriousness, I was quite taken aback by the whole matter. First and foremost…I deserve it. Let’s lay the cards on the table. I don’t mind that people know…partially, because it was for something unbelievably stupid: I didn’t routinely turn in my attendance…and I skipped out on a few lunch duties. That’s it. Some may argue…”what the heck….give me a break.” But, I accept my write-up….and while I blame my absent-mindedness I agree that if I prioritized things a bit better, life would have been fine. And the attendance thing….well, it was one of those things that fell to the side in the bustle of my day. (What’s sad…is that I always took attendance in my gradebook…just forgot to turn it in!) “Get your head in the game, Ball!”

So, at the end of last year I took my medicine…prayed a lot….and I’m looking forward to making some different priorities this year.  It’s okay to screw up, I think. Just so long as you learn from the mistakes, right? (I invested in a red pen and some Post-It notes…let’s DO THIS ATTENDANCE THING!) That’s all I can do, truthfully. But, on top of it all…I remain blue.

You know…I cannot begin to tell you how blessed I am. We have a 792-seat Chapel/Performing Arts Center here…we offer four full-length productions a year….I have a thriving International Thespian Society troupe…and I get to spread the word of God, openly and proudly every day with my students. (That, AND I’m a stone’s throw away from my wife every day!) My salary and benefits are great…I work with a faculty and administration that steadfastly redefines what it is to be a charitable Christian, and I have a pug. I should be pretty freakin’ satisfied.

Today, I worked with a student for an hour on acting technique. He called me out of the blue and said “can we just go over a few things? I wanna brush up.” What kinda student takes that sort of initiative? Other teachers have to worry about drugs and gangs…I have to worry about a senior who “might be getting dusty.” Sheesh. I’m on the Board of Directors for a brilliant family-centered theatre company in town and I’m currently assistant directing a classic musical with a brilliant cast and crew.

I have clothes on my back…food in my stomach…my hair needs a trim, but overall I’m extremely fortunate and taken care of. (That, AND I’m a stone’s throw away from my wife every day!)

Have you ever found yourself mad because you can’t seem to break out of your “blue-ness?” Which in turn frustrates you…which leaves you tired….which add to the blueness. It’s a never-ending cycle! No wonder I squeal with joy when I watch the Cosby Show and Cliff narrowly sneaks the hoagie sub past Claire. Sheesh.

But I’m not writing to vent. Nor am I dumping my issues into cyberspace in hopes for a little attention. (God knows my “audience” isn’t big…and Aunt Bailey, stop commenting that my posts are “cute.”) But, I was reminded today that the “big picture” world is in need of my contributions (and yours) more than I (you) think.

“The Sound of Music” is the show I’m assistant directing with Signature Productions…and the cast is amazing. (You should HEAR these kids….they have the voices of angels!) Anyway…one of my students chimed in on my Facebook post that read “Not sure what to think” by saying “think about raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.”

VonTrapp children rehearsing for "THE SOUND OF MUSIC." Click here to visit the Signature Website: http://www.signatureproductions.net

I laughed it off and moved on…but then, as I hot-glued a poster to the wall, I thought about the vase of fresh flowers my wife always refreshes and keeps in the living room…and how much joy that simple pleasure brings her. I thought about my cat, Montgomery who currently has a nasty bacterial infection in his nose. Nothing too crazy or anything…but his sinues have given him a raspy purr and we’ve affectionately referred to him as Snarth Vader.

Snarth Vader

I recall a cookie-dough laced electric beater my wife swung around the corner of my office the other day like Excalibur. She said “take….eat.” And I did…and it was good. I had a mocha from Starbucks yesterday (even though I know I shouldn’t because it goes RIGHT to my hips!) But it was yummy. I’ve also had a very weird craving for Jell-o lately…and I’ve been slurping it down like crazy! I think about the fun I had with my friends watching Damn Yankees at Super Summer Theatre and literally breaking bread together…sharing stories…laughing…and huddling together when the sun went down. I don’t care what it is….Red Bull, Reeces Cups….whatever! What are your favorite things? What are the joys in your family/friend’s lives? How can you capitalize on those “rays of sunshine” to ensure that you are a positive part of their every day dynamic?

I think that my school year blues is a topical reaction to a disappointing end to last year…and a fear that the routine of the upcoming year, may overshadow the joy I find in electric beaters and Snarth Vader. I think I’m looming over the past….and while I’ve already accepted and “taken” my own personal attendance, I need to do my job and invest in the future.

So…now that I’ve analyzed the situation…what’s the prescription? I know for a fact there are family members of mine that need a ray of sunshine a HECK of a lot more than I do. I have friends who are saddened today as well. I hold a heavy heart for them all. So, in general…perhaps the answer is as topical as the would-be symptom: Find something that will affect you positively….and invest in that. There’s nothing you can do about the past. I can’t argue my way out of that write-up…I can’t change people’s approaches/attitudes/passions/investments….there will always be stuff you don’t wanna do and I will always find myself running away from the paper cutter…that’s not the point. Even on the best days we have a tendency to be critical and overshadow the positive with the simplest thing. The point is there is always a bigger picture…and if we can remove ourselves from the immediacy of the situation, if we can just remember our favorite things….then we won’t feel so bad.

Sounds stupid and “kindergarten,” right? Well…I just got a paper cut (really…I did, on a Post-it note…not the paper cutter!) And right now I’m going to go eat some Jell-o. (Really I will.) I assure you…life will get better soon.

Thank you my friends for reminding me of my favorite things.

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3 Responses to “My Favorite Things”

  1. Jacqueline Says:

    Thank you :)*

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed your post. Not that I am looking forward to grind of the new school year, I do take comfort knowing that you brighten my son’s day every class! That is one of my small pleasures as a parent!

  3. I don’t read blogs, but while I was procrastinating, I mean working on my message for youth tonight, I stumbled across your book… I actually enjoyed it.

    It reminded me of a time, 10 years ago, when I was teaching in the public schools. I was “horse” playing with one of my students whom I treated like a little sister at times. I was trying to distract her while I raced her to the door, and thought that I would pinch her in the back. The problem was that I incorporated a spin move into my distraction plan that led to my pinch landing below her back on her bottom.

    I was shocked and embarrassed that I had pinched her there, but rather than stopping and apologizing profusely, I tried to deflect it with a joke. She didn’t say anything else, and I was afraid to broach the subject with her again.

    The next day I got called into a meeting, and got an investigation instead of an administrative write up. (I was found innocent.) But the damage was already done to my reputation that I had tried so hard to build up. Needless to say, I had a major case of the “blues.”

    My suggestion: Find something outside yourself that’s bigger than yourself, so you can lose yourself in Him. Serving is the antithesis of the “Blues.”

    I hope your attendance taking is going well. Have a great year.

    Blessings,

    (Now) Pastor Chad

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