Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Day 91b

"Your debutante knows what you need, but I know what you want."

:Mr Zimmerman's "Stuck Inside of Mobile, With the Memphis Blues Again"

It has been got.

Day 91

I'm not quite finished.

The Allman Brothers song (Dickey Betts wrote it) is actually entitled "Revival." It will always be known to me by the latter half of its recurring lyric, "people can you feel it / love is everywhere."

I do not want to leave the impression that getting the job is the miracle. For one, it still has not been "got." Considerations yet to be made.

The miracle is in the song lyric. Its truth: its felt truth. The grace of its descent.

When I spoke with Bobbie last night about the day's events, she said that she "sees me" working at the school. She then proceeded to tell me that the founder of the school, an old friend of hers, had recently attended a labyrinth walk at our church. While there, she asked her friend to go and look at some exhibited poetry on the wall: my poetry. The woman loved it. Bobbie told her friend about me and said she thought I should be teaching at the school. The woman wholeheartedly agreed.

This conversation and the Allman Brothers - I was a boohooing mess.

And then the kicker: last night, after writing Day 90, I checked email just before going to bed. Friend Zet is checking in, letting me know she'd heard they may be hiring at the very school I'd just visited. And furthermore, she'd copied the email to her best friend Pam who teaches there. Who I've known for almost four years now. Never knowing it was THAT school.

Labyrinth indeed. Welcome to God's World. And peace.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Day 90

The numbers are unimportant, mere cyphers.

It has been a spotty 38 days since I was last here. I feel as if I have been working terribly hard at not working hard, obscuring the way, obscuring my connection with God. For a while, I inundated myself (on Kathleen's recommendation) with Simon Tugwell: I love the elegance of his prose, but there came a time when I began to feel increasingly irritable as I read him: there was so much - too much - knotted elegance: I was losing touch while in pursuit of being in touch. I set him aside, though dipping lightly into his small book on prayer this morning.

I'm going to ramble a while. Last night, Tina and I watched Lawrence Kasdan's Grand Canyon. This was probably the fourth time I'd seen it, and probably my least satisfying viewing by far. I found myself more irritated (that again) than anything else, and yet at different times, I also felt myself on the verge of sobbing: I don't know that the film ever really moved me in that way, but there it was. At one point, Mary McConnell's Claire berates Kevin Kline's Mack with these words: "No, I reject your headache. A headache is an inappropriate response to a miracle."

Two (?) weeks ago, I sat for an interview for an English instructor position that had just "miraculously" opened up at a time that I was referred to look at his particular school. After scrambling to submit all my information online, I was called for the interview and had what I thought was a very good one. I did not leave feeling assured that I had the job in the bag, but I did feel good enough to feel like I needed to pray hard about whether I could take a job I felt sure would be offered at a bargain-rate, Catholic school salary. Having been assured by the principal that he would personally call all candidates within the next few days, I went to my church for some quiet prayer the day after the interview. I hoped for clarity, words to meet the expected cheesy offer, etc. Instead, I got very drowsy and nearly fell asleep: when I got home, I DID fall asleep. I did not hear from the principal for the rest of the week. On the weekend, he left a messsage asking me to call him on Monday: I made several attempts to do so, left messages, and waited by the phone, falling asleep again. He never returned any of my calls.

I figure that Claire would say that "falling asleep" was also an inappropriate response to a miracle. Had I the courage of wisdom, I probably could have realized that my drowsiness was an indication that a "miracle" was not forthcoming.

Invocations of the mantra "rejection is protection" and my own "stated" desire to just let things unfold as they would (the old "if it's meant to be" co-mantra) notwithstanding, I instead fell into a morass of negativity which no amount of centering prayer seemed able to penetrate. A nasty pool of sulfurous cynicism started welling up as well, directed largely at the nonsense I feel is pouring from the nooks and crannies of NIT.

This lout trailed around in my body, exploding at times at my son and my new dog, and then feeling doubly ashamed for having done so. And atop all that, I felt as if I were simply treading water in a dank pool of pity and despair.

The week prior, Tina and I saw M. Night Shyamalan's The Lady in the Water. Predictably, I connected emotionally with Giamatti's character Cleveland Heep, the former physician who, following the murder of his family, leaves his whole professional life behind to take up the caretaking of an apartment complex: work that, as Bill Irwin's character reminds him, just won't do. I've certainly felt that, since leaving my work as a psychotherapist behind, I've done plenty of work that "just won't do." NIT has been a mixed blessing: both "work that won't do" AND a gift in helping me clarify my next career choice.

Today, at the behest of my new mentor/guardian angel Ms Bobbie, I called up yet another school and found myself invited in, welcomed over, enthusiastically interviewed, and had the growing feeling that this was a place I needed to be, even if it meant taking a part time offer initally. I'm too tired to go into this at length, but here's the gist: before 8 o'clock this morning, Bobbie called her old associates to find that a position had just been filled, so nothing was available at this time. 20 minutes later, she was called back and informed that it looked like a part time offer could be made, and that could very likely grow to a full time position. I joked later with Bobbie: "If it took 20 minutes to come up with a part time position, 40 minutes should secure full time employment." Toss in the fact that the whole certification process could be fulfilled while on the job there...let me just say that my response to the miraculous was not sleep. And when my bottom salary figure for consideration was tossed out as the starting figure for teachers - need I say more?

I drove across town this evening to fax my application to the school. On the way home, I heard a song on the radio that always lights me up: the Allmann Brothers' "Love Is Everywhere." I hadn't heard the song for years. As it exploded from Tina's car speakers, my entire crown chakra blew open with wondrous circular tingling. Now THAT is an appropriate response to a miracle.

I had just been talking to my students this morning about music and memory, how memory alone might not even recall the day's breakfast, but toss in music and the obscurest details can come roaring back in.

Senior year in high school, dreary Monday morning: I've somehow NOT figured out a way out of gym class, as was my wont for most of my classes that year. I'm on the south side of the gym, we're loosely lined up for roll call, waiting for the cheesy Christian soap opera organ music that typically ushers in the morning announcement "show" known as "Morning Call." Instead, this morning, what explodes from the intercom system is the glorious instrumental intro to "Love Is Everywhere," and then the wonderful lyrics as well. I am ignited: we all are. Kendall Wilson, resident hippie/bodybuilder, has somehow liberated the Bastille: organ queso was never heard of again. More good stuff came through the year, but it NEVER got better. I am slammed back into that glorious gym every time I hear the song.