XXXI: Not My Own


It’s 9:30 PM and I’m sitting in the living room eating tacos from the kitchen. i’ve just finished another anime episode and I fell asleep on the couch; requiring Darco to wake me up for bed. It’s been that kind of day.

Absolute exhaustion and trying times.

Yesterday was a mess. Between some student loan issues (imagine that), screwing up an assignment for class, and just a failure to adapt to the classroom, it was not a pleasant experience. I was in a rather foul mood last night by the time I left school, and I was hoping (and seriously praying) that today would be different. Thankfully, this was the case. I’m not stating that the day was perfect in comparison to yesterday, but I am going to say that God was able to change my mindset and expectations, so that I could work in an area I love with a more humble soul.

Twice, in the past six months, I’ve failed to gain a classroom position inside the school. The first time it created a horrible sense of bitterness internally, but in the end I had to accept the reality that I didn’t hold the legal requirements to teach. Why should I be mad at someone else for the mistakes I’ve made? With that memory in mind I was able to handle the news of potentially missing out on another classroom position this week. Through this process I started to see the pattern that I’ve become a hypocrite in front of my own students…

So many times I’ve complained about students having this sense of entitlement when they’re in school, “Well, I earned this.” or “Well, I deserve that.” can be heard as distant echoes down the hallway. It’s rather irritating to hear and very discouraging when thinking of what the future could hold for them in this very hostile, unfriendly world.

I say that while with the same mouth and mind I can hear myself saying, out of bitterness…

I’m mad because I’ve earned this opportunity…

I’m upset because I deserve to have this chance…

Doesn’t matter the age, the reality is the same. I’m no different compared to my own students. I have this horrible, worldly sensation that punctures my soul with greed. The truth is, is that I don’t even deserve the job that I currently have. The bitter reality is knowing that there’s nothing in these previous four years of life that indicate I even deserve the life that I’ve been given. Classroom? Trying deserving the wife I have, a supportive family, loving friends, a healthy life, etc…

Who am I to seek entitlement for a life I don’t even deserve?

it was a hard, bitter pill to swallow. Recognizing how fallen I am, and how dirty I’ve become. Realizing this is why it became easier to accept my position, cling to my school, and stop worrying about all the details and just live an enjoyable life. I can firmly say that, that in itself is a blessing that I’ve missed for years.

Maybe this is just another one of my random rants about life. i’ve missed out twice on the hopes of having a real classroom for the next school year, and I’m thankful that God’s prepared my soul to handle the understanding that sometimes His timing and our own for our lives don’t always match up.

I have to require my soul to be alright with understanding that I cannot be in control of my life.

It wasn’t my own to start with anyways…

-D-

Mobile Minutes: Jupiter’s Storm


What I’m learning…
I love my students. Middle school kids crack me up on a daily basis. They’re strange, but they’re a ton of fun and the energy level never ends. It’s a perfect environment for me.

Chaos, energy, and attitude.

Sadly, like everything in life (not just work related) there is a flipside to this scenario. There’s a daily temptation that roams the halls each day that I exist, this whispering little serpent that winds itself in and out of the classrooms. It’s wrapped up in drama, gossip, rumors, and in many cases nothing in favor for the students.

My biggest struggle, deepest prayer, and darkest fear all stems from not giving into the world that’s before me. I never knew that even with the enjoyment of students, a quagmire of personal fear thrives in such a safe haven of joy.

It’s a learning lesson for sure, and definitely something that’ll never go away. No different than Jupiter’s ongoing storm, this reality and educational moment will continue to spin.

Perhaps I just need a bit more sugar and caffeine in the morning.

-D-

XXXI: Keeping Up


Wake up.

I have thirty minutes on the clock.
Grab my pants, where’s the shirt for today? Socks? Got ‘em.
Start the shower, will the water warm up any faster?
Wake up, let’s do this.
Don’t stand under the water, you’ll waste time.
Get dry. Remember pants and shirt on first, socks last, otherwise you’ll be tempted to stay seated on the bed.
Contacts? Those’ll be last, let’s get the water boiling. 5 tablespoons of coffee, cup is clean.
That cat has got to stop messing with my shoe strings while I’m trying to tie them.
Pour the water, set the timer for six minutes. Do I have my lunch ready? Where’s the bowl for breakfast?
Thank goodness that granola was made.
Grab the coat. Shut off the bedroom light. Section one cleared.
Contacts in. Shut the bathroom light. Section two cleared.
Coffee is ready. We need more sugar. Is that almond milk still good?
Bag? Check.
Coat? Check.
Keys? Check.
Phone? Check.
Cereal? Yep, with coffee.
House lights are turned off. Section three cleared.

Almost word-for-word these are the thoughts that stream through my mind Monday through Friday each week. It’s quite literally non-stop fun waking up and getting ready without running into any problems. That being said, by the time it is all said and done, Saturday is the first time that I decide to try to breathe. I’ll claim the card of just getting older, but this past week absolutely exhausted me and pushed me to a level of stress that I hadn’t witnessed in some time. It was a blend of work related stuff, and stuff outside of work. I added to my load this week by starting a college course through the University of Phoenix. It’s my first class that could be counted as a Master’s level class, but so far it hasn’t proven to be much more than reading and discussing theories of classroom organization. That shouldn’t come as much of a shock, but I’m still happy that I’m able to take the class (and thanks to Darco’s job, we were able to pay for it upfront in full). The passing completion of that class will result in my teaching license being reinstated, something that I can wholeheartedly say I’m dying to achieve. Even without an actual classroom, I feel so inadequate roaming the halls of the school being asked by students if I’m something that I’m not. The downside of course is the additional amount of time being consumed to ensure that I do complete the class…correctly.

From there, there’s an added element of my body. While I am losing weight (again), my legs aren’t doing everything that I’d like them to be doing. Most notably problems in my knees and still in my Achilles. I’m praying for an opportunity to try a spine and joint center in the city that specializes in working with runners. If it’s not my shoes that are causing this, I’ll be very curious as to what they end up finding. I’m still running and training, but my workload on my feet is very, very light. It’s not worth making problems worse just because I’m stubborn.

Outside of work and running is church (not always in that order). Darco and I continue to spend time at a ‘home church’ on Thursday nights, soon to be changing to Sunday nights, and personally it isn’t easy. There are so many things I’ve developed horrible habits of being uncomfortable with and they’re all coming out at once. I’m not keen on physical touch, aside from Darco, from anyone. I still struggle working with very small children, and pregnancy still makes me extremely uncomfortable. This is just honesty coming out, not acknowledging that any of it is necessarily bad. I suppose the reality is that I need to grow up and be like everyone else. Eventually I have to accept the idea of the same job for 20+ years, I have to accept the average family size, the mortgages, and everything that comes along with it. Truthfully, I’m still denying it as if it were some form of plague. Perhaps it’s just the sinful nature of my soul, but I still have zero desire to follow through with all this notions that people point out as joyful and wonderful. I suppose I’m still selfish, but there isn’t even a stirring in my soul of, “Oh, this will be so fun.” I’m still thinking of running, work, and honestly…just being married.

Fear. I’ve been trying to fully comprehend and handle fear. Understand the death, destruction, second coming, and everything in between doesn’t bother me. There really is very little out there in this world that I fear. I’ve just about failed at everything I’ve been a part of, so the world isn’t nearly as scary now. With that said, there’s still one thing that burns in my heart as an absolute terror. I’m terrified that my wife will leave me. I’m scared that one disagreement, one argument, one forgotten date, failed objective (cooking, cleaning, etc…) will result in her packing up and never returning. Does Darco ever act like that? Absolutely not, but when dealing with stress from the week, it just eats at me. I think back to false promises, storybook thoughts, and tragic endings. My mind reverts back to a time of chaos and isolation. Thunderstorms, softball, and crying myself to sleep. I still remember it all like a permanent scar. Darco knows this, and she always reminds me that it’ll never happen. Frankly, I don’t see how people can be divorced, be left, and then just play it off as if nothing tragic happened in their life. It’s my fear, my terror, it’s what keeps me up at night. If I’m not perfect, if I don’t fix every problem, my wife will leave me. If I screw up the financials and miss a bill, my wife will leave me. If I get onto her about sleeping too long, or something along those lines, my wife will leave me. I’ve concluded, through the stupidity in my head, that this will forever be the curse that I’ll have to live with.

There’s a lot on my plate in the mornings, several thoughts streaming through my mind. The weeks are long, but most of the time they’re fun, I just wish I was a better person.

-D-

XXXI: Failing to Save


I blame the depressing winter weather…

Heading home from dinner tonight I started thinking back to years past. Way into the years that had passed. I started to think about missed opportunities, failed acquaintances, and let downs. I feel guilty for my past. So many times opportunities were given to make the right move, and time and time again…I missed.

In several of those instances it came back to relationships. I don’t know how Darco does it, I really don’t, because the majority of the major mishaps in my life have originated from relationships. Really, I struggle with people. I place so many on altars of praise that I completely miss the point of why praise even exists. I take responsibility for damaging my first love by being a horrified, shallow example of a God-less Christian in the end. The same holds true to my first, second, and third relationship in college. Truly, I was a guy that should have never dated. I started off as a politician; smooth, charming, and kind. In the end, I was shallow, selfish, and manipulative. Can I be brutally honest? It’s been three going on four years since the divorce, and while I 100% am against divorce, I also 100% recognize and don’t blame my ex-wife for leaving. I failed that marriage because I failed to protect my heart.

Perhaps all of this is what makes Darco that much more amazing. She knows all of it, she knows the details of my failures, the things I will be judged for, and still loves me.

She’s definitely more Christ-like than she realizes.

-D-

XXXI: Every Step I Take


Every step I take,
I take in you,
You make move Jesus
Every breath I breathe,
I breathe in you,

The simple lines reverberate back memories of mission trips, summer camps, and when life was overall easier. Less facial hair, less stress, and an overall appreciation for simplicity…without even knowing it at the time. Even last night at my parents house I found a 31 page paper that I had typed out of spite towards one of my professors. Reading over the text I was humored at how naive I was at the time (and also how my grammar could be relatable to my sixth grade students). Continue reading

Mobile Minutes: Saturday Seclusion


A day to sleep in…
A day to recover…
A day for bad news…

These are my Saturday’s in a nutshell. With my job going Monday through Friday, and Darco working Saturday mornings, the beginnings of the weekends have really opened up a bit. While I do spend some time cleaning, prepping, most of it frankly is spent lounging and relearning how to catch my breath from the week before. Sunday will be the day that I begin the preparation for the upcoming week. Sadly, sometimes Saturdays are also times to put out fires and try to establish control and balance to this life. Continue reading