My life has been frantic since school started. I found out a week before the first day that I had an official assignment, that I would be back in my own classroom with all the good and ill that it implies... (If only I had known that there would be more ill than good...)
I have been stressed. It has not been a very good start to the school year. I'm doing middle school this year, teaching 8th grade reading. While we are technically a step above the alternative schools (schools to where we send students who are too problematic to function properly in the traditional school setting), they might as well just call us an alternative school for all the discipline issues we have to deal with daily. Classroom management has always been one of my weakest areas, and I definitely feel like I am floundering. So much so that in order to try and keep up with my professional obligations, I have been neglecting my personal needs. (No, that doesn't include hygiene- I still shower and brush my teeth and put on deodorant and wash my clothes and such... but my apartment is a chaotic mess, even more than usual.)
I realized I can't keep doing this and survive the year.
I need to slow down before I get an ulcer or an aneurism or a stroke or any other major medical condition.
I loved getting to hear all four sessions of General Conference. Through the words of those who spoke, I felt the inspired wisdom of the Lord reminding me of what is essential. I felt re-anchored in fundamental, eternal truths that had been fading away into background noise as the noise of my classes made demands on my time and effort.
Yes, I still have those professional obligations that cannot be ignored. But I cannot let them take over my spirituality. And I had been doing just that. No more.
So. As my favorite season comes in full swing, I will remember that my time is just that- MY time. To enjoy walks where I crunch my way through fallen leaves, to enjoy the brightness of an autumn blue sky, to curl up with a mug of sugar-free hot chocolate and a book for half an hour without feeling guilty, to get back to writing, to find serenity in the things that give my soul joy.
I will catch up on all the grading I need to do. I will catch up on all the planning I need to do. I will catch up on all the organizing I need to do. But I will do it at MY pace. I will not let the frustrations of the year get the better of me. I hope that as I find peace, I can better handle all the curveballs and wild pitches the students are throwing at me. But even if I do not find tranquility in the classroom, I will renew my efforts to find it in my soul.