It has been a rough day and a long week. One of those weeks where I look at how many months it is until summer break and I realize that I have only just begun. My thoughts should still be turned to those of excitement and eager anticipation of the events yet to come. Maybe I feel so worn down because I’ve been lacking in prayer. Perhaps I’m simply tired.
At times I feel this weariness deep down in my bones that shouldn’t be found within the person of only 23 years. I long for Heaven. At times, I seem to ache for it. I’m weary of life. Already this year I’ve had my fill of teenagers and they are the source of my job. I’m tired of rolling eyes, softly muttered comments, overly talkative classes, looks of pure boredom, and the list continues.
Last week I asked my students if they would rather work a job where they make lots of money but hate it or a job where they make more than enough to survive but have to forgo fancy extras but love their job. In one class the majority chose to work a job they hate so that they could have all the things they want, take nice vacations, and retire early. I always figured I would rather work a job I love but this week confirmed it. Sitting at the dinner table, exhausted and wanting nothing more than to sleep for a week, I thought of what a horrible existence it would be to spend 8 hours at a job I hate, spend the rest of the day tired and dreaming of sleep, only to wake up and do it all over again. Not for nine months but for the entire year. Where is life in that? Where is the time to actually live and be with people?
I do not hate my job. On some days, I love it. On days like today, I go to the chapel, beg the Lord for help, and return to the street/battlefield/classroom. And this idea begins to grow in the back of my mind–what if the Lord desires something else from me? Maybe He doesn’t want me to teach next year but rather to…… And I draw a blank because there isn’t exactly an application for “wife and mother”. [And I would cringe at the thought of answering that kind of help wanted ad. “Help wanted: woman to marry and rear children. Will be paid in a decent house, being woken up in the middle of the night to feed/change/rock child(ren), and beautiful drooling smiles. Mail application and sample of chocolate chip cookies to…..”]
Lord, I pray, I’m lonely. I want a “kindred spirit” or a “bosom friend” with whom I may pass through this world. What a feeling it is to be surrounded by people all day long and yet desire to be alone, but not truly alone, just away from the maddening crowd. Sometimes I blame God because I feel that He should have made me more adaptable to this world. My heart shouldn’t get hurt so easily by a few rude looks or a handful of subtle attacks. I shouldn’t long for solitude so much if I was to have a profession that deals with so many people. I know God didn’t make me for this world but it seems I could have been made with slightly more skills suited to life on Earth.
Convents sound like beautiful places at this point. Not because I believe they are easy but because in many ways my heart feels very much aligned with it. I like to be quiet and by myself. I enjoy work and prayer. I would love a community of sisters. My two older sisters in religious life have made me quite aware that there is more to monastic life than that. Nevertheless, I desire it. Yet not the vocation itself. I desire marriage. I am a contemplative thrown into the world who seems to not find time to pray. I am a fish thrown out of the water and I refuse to admit that the water is my source of life.
I’m unsure if any of this makes sense. All I know is that today I nearly cried during a class and I’ve thought several times over the past couple days, “What if I didn’t come back next year?” My spiritual director has been helping me find areas of hurt and bring healing to them. We are trying to make my heart whole again. Today I began to believe that teaching was simply destroying the whole process.
Maybe I love far too many ideals and not enough realities. I love my students–as they should be. Yet when faced with a teenage girl who is subtly mocking me in front of the class, I have to keep myself from crying tears of rage. I love teaching–on the days when things goes perfectly and my students radiate with kindness and sincerity.
Heaven help me. So if you are reading this, stop right now and say a prayer for me and my students. We can definitely use it. For all of those out there facing far more difficult battles in the streets, know that my little sufferings and prayers are with you. And let’s all get to Heaven so this can all just look like one inconvenient night in a hotel (thanks St. Teresa of Avila).