Friday, January 25, 2013

Winter Isolation

It's cold and bleak outside, the bitter wind sweeping off the open range and carrying with it all the chill of isolation. The skies are grey, the ground is frozen stiff, and the trees are dead. Thorny branches scratch against my window as the chilling wind wraps its way around campus, stealing life and breath with its sharp knife. This is how January is ending, the first month of a new year that has been anything but what I'd hoped.

At least I'm inside curled up with my laptop, the first student teaching seminar finally over and my head pounding with an overload of new responsibilities and deadlines. It's not that I don't have homework already or projects I could get started on but.... I'm just overwhelmed right now. And I can't go into work today for my 9 hour shift with that kind of pressure and expect to be any kind of calm, dependable leader for my team. So here I sit and write.

Today was my last academic day on campus. It's the strangest feeling... a bit of relief, a bit of fear, and a great deal of sadness. The feel of isolation that winter brings to the world has crept into my very blood. Since Levi left me and I've been alone, the feeling pervades every minute of my existence.... that great terribly aloneness. Not that being alone is bad, and once I loved it, but it's a cruel exchange when my life just yesteryear was thriving off an insatiable craving to be 100% part of someone else's life too. Now there's just me, and the 105 days left to graduation, and the wind outside.

Which brings me to say a very big thank you for all the notes and calls of encouragement.... especially to my family... because I couldn't be trucking on today relying solely in God's unfathomable sovereignty if it wasn't for that support. It means so much even if I don't have the enthusiasm right now to appropriately respond or even return the kindness. Please keep praying for me, I have so very far to go...

I've received my student teaching placement. For obvious and painful reasons, I'm electing to keep those details private but at least some of the huge void in my future has been penciled in. Today was the first seminar- there will be six- when the academic deans lectured us about our new responsibilities and projects. Because student teaching, observing, and reporting isn't quite enough for a semester of work... There are more than 20 papers and additional projects to be completed and filed. Lovely! (note the sarcasm) And the 5am-10pm nonstop Mon-Friday schedule is going to be utterly exhausting. At least traditional college classes come with empty periods when I could slip in a nap or get ahead on a project for the next day. Nope. All day every day I'll be gone away at a high school and then at Panera Bread, working and then working again towards my degree on May 16th. I've never been more dependent on a single date in my entire life! Except for November 18th, but... life happens. =( Luckily, I'll have the weekends completely "free." Free for 30% sleep, 40% church, 30% project time. Oh boy. I do hope that being off campus all day every day will bring some relief to the position I've been enduring right now. The isolation will come with me, but at least the memories won't be assaulting me at every turn. The finality of physical distance can do a lot, too.

My passage from Ecclesiastes comes back to me. There is a time for every season. A time to have it easy, and a time to push yourself! Goodbye last semester, hello this semester. Paul also had a word to say on changing circumstances: a time to abound, and a time to be abased. A time for winter, and a time for spring. I am very much longing for the spring, for any change for the better, any peeping grassling, any faint ray of sunshine, any velvety treebud. But for now, the present is the present. Just me, the winter, and the freezing wind.

Monday, January 14, 2013

A Forgotten Pasttime

I suppose writing will always be my solace. During the intense times of happiness, the ability and passion escapes me like any telltale sign of precipitation on a sunny summer day. But in the shallows of life, the words begin to well up in me like a desert oasis filling with rain, brim to overflowing. And so it is today. In the wake of my public breakup with Levi Fowler, the love of my life, I find the hurt and confusion giving birth to literacy. Perhaps it is only when my intellect is truly in touch with my feelings that I have anything to offer to the world of writing. That is surely the case of my one and only serious literary work, The Gothic Girl. I am proud to say that after months of procrastination and intimidation, I wrote a query letter, synopsis, introduction letter, and sent them off to a local publisher. Now the waiting game... the praying time. I have illusions that my work is worth publishing note but I hope that for the message behind the book's sake, it will find a place into the reading selection of American teens.
Life finds me once again facing a new adventure... the road to graduation. The homestretch. The deadly final semester when derailing seems almost inevitable. If I fail to keep a stable, beneficial relationship in my own personal life, I find double determination to persevere in my educational career. In just 129 days, me and 93 other lucky students will be able to walk across the platform of Southwest Baptist Church and throw off our caps forever. Yes, forever. Five years and too many heartbreaks later, my Bible college career will be an accomplishment and not a daily struggle.
But before I can put on my dancing shoes, I have to face student teaching. Soon, soon, soon I will be selected for a Christian school and assigned a class where I will be spending my days observing, learning, and even trying my own hand at teaching high schoolers English, Literature, and the Language Arts. If my advisory teacher and head of education find my efforts satisfactory, I will graduate.
In preparation, my mom took me shopping over Christmas break and we began to plan the first basic step any girl would take before becoming a new teacher- the wardrobe. Hello pencil skirts, peplum blouses, and pastel blazers. Goodbye all the old comforts in the welcome of a new year, a new position, and a new responsibility. Goodbye walking with my ex-boyfriend to classes, taking sick days, going to chapel. Hello leather tote, 6:30am departure shuttle, and the loneliness of a new school. Heaven help me.
I've weeded through my friends list time and time again so that the only people who have access to my personal feed and writing are the people that have demonstrated their love and involvement in my life. I just wanted to say thank you to this small, irreplaceable group of supporters who have endured the ups and downs of my life, especially as of recently. I covet your prayers at this time. I hope that through the trials, I will be able to find the experience God is wanting to teach me. And when that day comes, I hope to share it with you all.