After the Sky

"When you're way up high and you look below at the world you left and the things you know, little more than a glance is enough to show you just how small you are. When you're way up high and you're on your own in a world like none that you've ever known and the sky is lead and the earth is stone you're free to do whatever pleases you- exploring things you never dared 'cause you don't care when suddenly there's a big, tall, terrible giant at your door... a big tall terrible lady giant sweeping the floor. And she gives you food and she gives you rest and she draws you close to her giant breast and you know things now that you never new before... not til the sky. Only just when you've made a friend and all and you know she's big but you don't feel small someone bigger than her comes along the hall to swallow you for lunch! And your heart is lead and your stomach's stone and you're really scared being all alone... and it's then that you miss all the things you've known and the world you left and the little you own... the fun is done! So you steal what you can and run. And you scramble down and you look below and the world you know begins to grow... the roof, the house, and your mother at the door... the roof, the house and the world you never thought to explore. And you think of all of the things you've seen, and you wish that you could live in between, and you're back again, only different than before.... after the sky..."

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Everything is Illuminated

I was told once that we only get so many chances to step over the line until the universe decides that enough is enough. I guess today might have been my last chance. The story of the day is really not important, but it brings to mind the question of: 1. Work ethic, especially in the face of adversity, and 2. Trust.

I pride myself on my work- at least, work I do when I feel like I'm working toward a goal, or have some greater purpose in mind. And one would think that there is no greater purpose than facilitating the goals and aspirations of some great, low-income students. However, I came to a realization yesterday. Either it takes a very special person to truly "fight the system," and only those with that specific constitution can succeed in that area, or it may just be better to "shut up and do what you're told," as I was basically told today. Either way, I'm very discouraged. I've always taught my students that with enough perseverance and hard work, anything is achievable. And in the face of adversity, one must work even harder. But what to do when, in the face of adversity, the motivation disappears? When the goal is fuzzy and unclear, and you're walking blindly towards...what end? And how to you know when you lay down your arms and let it go? And if the continued fight is met not with resistance, but total annihilation?

Which brings me to #2: Trust. Going back to another Broadway tune, "I hope you're proud how you would grovel in submission/ just to feed your own ambition...."

I remember my 11th grade AP History teacher once telling us that the people to fear while you're climbing the ladder are not those above you, nor are they those who are at the bottom, but those who are directly under you. Because they do slimy, creepy things to knock you from your place. Competition is fierce, but what happened to playing nicely? Or, fairly? I'm told time and time again that life is not fair, but I think the main reason I want to be a lawyer is that I really believe that it should be. At least the parts we can control.

So, the final Broadway tune of the day resonates with my idea of what should be done from here:
Running away/let's do it/why sit around resigned?/the trouble is, son,/the farther you run/the more you feel undefined/for what you have left undone/and, more... what you've left behind./

So, regardless of the adversity, the discouragement, the feelings of complete unworthiness, the only thing we can do is decide where to go from here.