Thursday, September 9, 2010

Semester 5: 3 Weeks In

This is perhaps a post more about my life in general right now than about something specific. And maybe that’s OK-- I had a lot of posts like that in the beginning of this blog. I really don’t feel particularly like letting this blog stay as quiet as it did last semester.

The past three weeks have been very interesting. This semester started off rougher than perhaps any of the past semesters have, but things have leveled out (which is to say that I have learned how to handle it better). There have been countless adventures in the past three weeks... for example, I got to make my first 911 call when a patron had a seizure in the library. That was an interesting experience. The primary thing I remember about it is standing there talking with the 911 operator and finding myself wondering “do I sound too calm? Do I need to sound panicked? Will she think I’m uncaring?”

Then of course there is the adventure of the new cleaning contract I have picked up with my dad. Which is made more exciting by a few circumstances.

My father left on Monday for China. He is there with my grandfather, who is dying of stomach cancer. My grandfather will be doing a lot of teaching while he is there... he is one of those brave men who is willing to continue giving to other people even as the end of his life becomes a very close reality.

While they are gone, my father obviously cannot work the side contracts he usually carries in addition to his full-time job. And so my brother, my sister, and I are taking on all the contracts while he is gone, one of them being the new one that we’d been doing for less than a week when he left. This provides a challenge for me as I try to get the routine in place, try to remember the right keys and combinations for the alarm system, and try to operate efficiently without his instruction and without the ability to even ask him any questions. This extra work while he is gone brings me up to working close to 30 hours a week, in addition to my classes and my usual family responsibilities.

And I am sick. Which really goes without saying, since I am in school-- that’s just the way it works. It’s been a little over a week since I got sick, which means I have probably at least one more week to go before I actually get better.

Things will not be slowing down any time soon. Before my father gets back, my mother leaves for a writing conference, which will mean extra time will need to be invested in looking after my four younger siblings. They’re good kids, and I know that they’ll listen to me when necessary, but my primary concern is simply finding time...

One of the interesting things about all this has been the simple fact that somehow, in spite of all of this chaos, I am still moving. Quite honestly, I am kind of a coward, and when I first saw all this approaching I wasn’t sure I could face it. But strength comes from the most unexpected sources when I need it most... and thus my ability to keep moving has very little to do with me. Kind words from friends, unexpected homework breaks, new songs, the promise of concerts to come that are going to be more incredible than I could ever ask for... God seems to delight in helping me stand. And more than just moving, I am accomplishing more than perhaps ever before. Somehow I am getting all this work done and all my school done and still finding more time than ever before to invest in my younger siblings.

During one of the workshop settings at the gathering of my writer friends last month, a good friend of mine said “you will find as much beauty as you look for.” I am finding that to be true about more than just writing or art in general. And that’s a double-edged sword. When we stop looking for beauty, when we look at the circumstances and accept them as impossible to overcome, there is a hopelessness that sets in. But when we look for beauty (or hope), when we accept it as not just a possibility but a reality... there are so many colors that come alive, even in the grayest world. And I have found that to be true. Somewhere in the blur of cold medicine and cough drops and too much caffeine... I am still singing.

Greek calls, and so I’ll have to leave you with this for now. I haven’t been keeping up with people very well over the past two weeks, which is basically why I wrote this post. So, now that I’ve updated you, I get to leave you with a question: what has your week been like? And you can answer that any way you like, whether it’s just factual information or something more serious. Feel free to find me on chat too-- I think the most important thing for me to do this semester is to actually keep up with people.

- Elraen -

1 comment:

Sarah said...

This past week? Interesting. Although probably not as interesting as yours, from the sounds of it.
I've been busy with college stuff...switched majors a week ago today (3 days into my college experience) and, in the process, dropped 9 credits and added 10 new ones. So most of this week has involved trying to frantically catch up on the material I missed (managed to get horrible grades on two of my first quizzes due to the switch and the resulting confusion). I think I'm about back to normal...I hope I'm about back to normal...what is this normal thing, anyway?
The rest of this week: School tomorrow, followed by orientation meeting for my campus job. Saturday is homework and an Honors get-together.
Oh yeah, and my laundry card refuses to talk to any of the machines, so I can't put any money on it. :-(