Driving home from work today and stressing about, oh, everything, including the beginning of the college semester, the ending of the high school semester, sick kids, what to cook for dinner, what to teach tomorrow, next semester and next year, and how to best get to Olympia next weekend and still get my grades in, and what to write in the newsletter, and who to call for help with the website, etc, etc, etc, I was reminded of the story of Moses and those scavenging Israelites.
I remembered the manna–which, granted, they got really sick of, but was there, every day for them to pick up. Just enough to last one day, but no more. I realized that what I’m guilty of doing, is wanting to go out with a front loader and gather up enough manna to last me an entire year–and then I want it vacuum-packed, inventoried, and stored in a cool, dry place. For which I have a key.
But you know how trying to outsmart the needs of tomorrow worked for the Israelites, right? Picture the last time you discovered forgotten leftovers in the back of your fridge, minus the fridge part. Worms. Stink. Ew.
I also remembered that Todd D. Christofferson once said, “Asking God for our daily bread, rather than our weekly, monthly, or yearly bread, is… a way to focus us on the smaller, more manageable bits of a problem. To deal with something very big, we may need to work at it in small, daily bites. Sometimes all we can handle is one day (or even just part of one day) at a time.”
And I kn0w that I’ve been living on curricular manna all semester. Day in, day out, things come together, even when disaster seems imminent.
I also remembered a TED talk by a monk who juggled small red balls and counselled us all to chill.
So I took a deep breath, and I sat up in my chair and I said, Get a grip girl! Live in the moment! You know you aren’t alone in this. You know it will all work out, day in, day out. I started counting blessings of that very moment:
- My car rocks. I mean–it not only has four wheels that reliably do their thing, the heater heats, the stereo transmits music, the seat belts and door handles latch and release. None of which were true for my previous car, which couldn’t actually make it up the hill at the end of my street. And this one has heated seats.
- Also, I have a driver’s license. There was this (probably) sixteen year old kid driving in front of me, and every other kid he passed saw him and reacted in the same exuberant, irrational way; it was clearly his first trip out on the roads, and they were so incredibly stoked about that. I have a driver’s license! When did that stop becoming the source of an emotional high?!
- Having a driver’s license is no longer an emotional high because I have so much independence and freedom that the power to move about on my own at great speeds and over vast distances pales in comparison.
- Five of my children are waiting at home, sound of limb and reasonably intelligent. One of them is off at college, and she’s such a good kid, that I don’t really have to worry about anything more serious that what fungus she might be picking up from the gym equipment.
- I haven’t been sick in ages, no matter how sick my kids (all 95 of them) get.
- I have one job I passionately adore, and another job that is maddeningly, frustratingly bewildering and complex, and it constantly drives me to try and to accomplish things I have never dared to attempt before. It is remaking the very essence of how I define courage, compassion and inspiration.
- I am meeting new people every day who broaden my horizons and encourage me to do impossible things. Today, for instance: thirteen emails from complete strangers, offering congratulations, support, best wishes for the future. Mostly because they are glad it’s me and not them in the role of County Chair, I know–but at least the hometown bleachers aren’t completely bare.
- I live in America in 2013. Seriously. I know it’s flawed. But come on–you have to admit this is a pretty good time and place to be alive.
- Faith has been hardwired into my very DNA. It is not something I have acquired, or earned or achieved. It’s who I am. I can’t imagine living my life without the knowledge that I do not walk alone.
- I bet you anything, Marty will have cleaned the kitchen before I open the door. It’s his new hobby. And awesome.
When I pulled into my driveway, there wasn’t any manna on my front lawn, but and my kitchen was clean, and there was enough French bread leftover from last night to make garlic bread. And my Zaycon order finally came from like, six weeks ago, so we made breaded chicken, too, since we seem to be carb-loading anyway. Add a few green veggies, and dinner was ready in less than 30 minutes Tip: If your daily bread is ever getting stale, butter it, sprinkle on some Johnny’s Garlic Seasoning and broil it for a minute or two. Johnny’s solves everything: