[Quiet Thoughts] Full Potential

Photo: The boys asked to go to the Discovery Museum yesterday, and we had a fun time in their favorite places to play. Then Major noticed a new program going on in one of the wonderful workrooms. Well, it was called “Takeaparts” and it’s exactly what you think it is: give kids tools and safety glasses and old electronic equipment and let them go to town. The boys had a blast! Major took apart an old receiver book. Minor took apart a wireless phone base. Screwdrivers, wire cutters, pliers and other tools were used. It was all safe and fun. I sincerely wish every kid had access to an excellent children’s museum.


I taught my last class last night. Only two of my four students made it to the end. It’s funny: even while teaching adults in what’s a low-stakes community education environment, I still feel that tug of sadness when the last class comes along. My soul is stirred when thinking about where my students’ journeys may take them next. What marvelous things will the do after this? I feel gratified in playing a brief and small part in the long road from where they started to where they want to go.

We spent last night talking about revision. I have been working on my craft seriously for the past 7 years and I think that I’ve only just now embraced revision with open arms and open heart. Veteran writers say again and again: Revision is writing. I have repeated the maxim many times, but never with full gusto. I’ve fully seen the light now and preach the gospel. My students… I hope they really understand. Perhaps, ultimately, they have to reach this understanding through doing the work themselves.

I have been thinking all day about my Quiet Thoughts. Honestly, I don’t have them in my usual way. During any given week, I search for a lesson learned, a moral discerned, that I can convey in this Friday post. These last couple of weeks, as I’ve been reflecting on where I am at the moment and where I have the potential to go, I’ve felt a bit of anxiety. 2018 has been full of triumphs and failures, starts and stops. My class is ending, I have another one on the docket in February. NaNoWriMo has ended, there are people who are asking for more programming in the “off” months and are wondering if I’m willing to lead. The rector search is leaving one phase and moving on to the next. If I correctly remember my Physics for Poli Sci Majors class, I’m pretty sure this breathless moment before things get going is full of what’s called potential energy. (I’ve got a science teacher friend who regularly reads this blog who is either rolling her eyes allll the way into the back of her head or is nodding with approval. My Lordy do I hope I applied that right or I’m gonna get it!)

That potential energy has me, frankly, afraid. I know that it’s a strong word, but it’s a true word: I’m afraid of what can potentially happen next, because I’m afraid of all that I’ve started and I’m afraid that I might be able to sustain the challenge or obtain the goal. This fear isn’t crippling… I am marching ever forward as time requires. These days go by, some quick and some slow… but the closer I get to 2019 and the more I think about what I have an opportunity to seize, the stakes feel higher than they’ve felt in a while. Somehow, someway, I’ve set myself up for something potentially amazing. I can look back and see how I got here, but what I’m foggy on is the what’s next.

For once, this isn’t impostor syndrome. This is just a simple trusting of the Fates. Am I foolish enough to believe that I’ve worked hard, I’ve given my all, and things are landing just they way I want them to… that there won’t be any consequences… that things will just go right and nothing will break in the background just off camera?

This is where my mother and grandmother would say that I don’t need to borrow on any bad energy. “Don’t you borrow on the bad,” Grandy is saying in my ear right now. “Don’t you block the blessings.” She’s right, of course. I’m not… I’m trying not to. I’m feeling hopeful, and that’s a wonderful feeling. I’m feeling prayerful and hopeful and full… simply full. I feel accomplished. I’m a woman who is a mom who, after 7 years of damn hard work, feels professionally accomplished and full again. It’s a remarkable feeling because it’s been a long time coming. Of course, it’s all for unpaid work right now, but… Lordy… one thing at a time. 🙂 Let 2019 be the year that I feel accomplished and I’m gettin’ paid. Lord knows we need it. We’ve got a boiler to pay for.

It’s a cold night in Massachusetts. Clear skies mean the temperature drops. I’ve got a pretty Christmas tree and a warm house and Lindor chocolates. Tomorrow, I’ve got a deadline for my last class at Grub Street (I’m so sad!). Unfortunately, I’ve got no ideas for what to write. Perhaps something will come to me in my sleep.

I failed to write up some wishes last week and I’m sorry for that, Dear Reader. Fridays are for wishes. Especially in December, which seems to be a whole-month marathon of open hearts and wishes sent far and wide. This Friday, I wish you a touch of hopefulness. Open your heart to the idea that good things should come to you, that you have done things that merit a good thing happening to you. Don’t feel bad about that thought, either. I wish you respite from the holiday hustle. It’s the time of year when we zoom from place to place. Take a little time for quiet and rest. It’ll all still be there when you’re done. I wish you a hug from a person who loves you beyond measure and a story from someone who is really good at telling them. I wish you your first gift of the season (I got one today: a pin for my knitting bag with little “quiet thoughts” for me to remember. I love the sweet and small, the little reminders that seem like whispers but actually roar when you need them to.) and a cheerful holiday card in the mail. I wish you soup: hot and hearty and rich. I wish you cookies: sweet and soft and covered with colorful frosting. Bonus points, of course, if they are homemade by someone who loves you and knows what they’re doing. I wish you the echo of good memories, the loving warmth of those who thing the world of you, even if they are far away or beyond any of our reach. It’s the time of year for ghosts and ripples in time and memory. May they visit you and make you smile, reminding you that you are deeply loved, in this life and the one to come.

It’s a season for twinkling lights and warm, wonderful things. It’s a season for reflection and remembering the year. It’s a season for the soul and the things that make it sing. It’s the season for infinite beauty and seeing a bit of that beauty in every person you meet. Every week, I remind you that you are loved and that what you do matters. How many times have you done the same for someone else? Remember that gifts don’t always have to be tangible. Ideas have consequences, Dear Reader. Share the idea that there is infinite beauty in every single person, every single soul.

Until Monday, take good care.

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