Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Highway of My Mind

It’s been a long couple of days. I had to attend a 2-day conference downtown on Tuesday and Wednesday. It was only a pain because I had to set my alarm for zero-dark-thirty to catch an early train. Lots of people ask why I don’t drive downtown for the conferences. I say it’s because I can make it on time if I catch the train by 7:30. Otherwise, if I’m driving, I have to leave by 8:00. The night before. Just kidding. I just really don’t have the patience for dealing with rush hour traffic and on the train, I can just zone out.

I don’t really zone out, though. I start to think. A lot. And not just about the fact that I had to put in back-to-back seventeen hour days.

As the train rumbled out of the station, I thought about how the whole world seems to change over the miles between my home and downtown…going from modest homes and businesses where I live, past rolling landscapes, wetlands with deer milling about while geese take flight overhead, past million dollar homes and stunning golf courses, to a sort of barren wasteland of run down buildings, junkyards, and miles of decrepit land sprinkled with garbage and broken glass. Looking out the window, watching the city come to life, it’s hard not to notice the drastic line between the haves and the have-nots. I’ll never live in a million dollar home. I wouldn’t want to. But I wouldn’t want to live in a tiny, cramped space with bars on the windows to keep out the violence that lurks outside the front door, either. As the sun cracked open over the cloudy horizon and shed its light on the waking city, I watched young children hurrying along to school, weighted down with backpacks, looking straight ahead and trying to avoid eye-contact with the lingering drug dealers hanging around just outside of the schools. Every single day is such a fight for them. I can’t help but wonder how long it will be before those children succumb to their circumstances, how many children will get themselves out of those situations, how many will be featured on the news in the coming years as either criminals or victims.

I thought about my career thus far…how the days have turned into weeks and the weeks into years. Eight years trying to save everyone and everything. Trying to house every homeless person, trying to rescue every abused and neglected child, trying to help every addict stay clean and sober, trying to find every unemployed person a job. There’s so much to do and so little time to do it in.

I thought about my family…my sisters, who I think sometimes know me better than I know myself…my husband and daughter, who mean so much to me, and how in the world I ever managed to live my life before I was blessed with a child. I thought about how I got to where I am and wonder how things would be if I’d made different decisions.

I thought about me…about who I am and whether I’m happy with who I am. I thought about how, if I’m going to answer myself honestly, I have to admit that I’m not always happy with who I am. And I have to acknowledge that part of the reason I’m not happy with who I am is because I set standards for myself way too high.

I started thinking that I’m pretty sure that I’m the person I’m supposed to be, even if I keep telling myself I’m supposed to be better than what I am. And at the risk of sounding like a Bible-beater, I think I’m getting closer to being the person that God intends for me to be. There’s some peace in that bit of knowledge.

Looking over these sort of mindless ramblings, I’m also thinking that I’m badly sleep deprived and my mind is taking on a life of its own.

One more thing…remember that barren wasteland I saw from the train, the miles of decrepit land strewn with garbage and broken glass? If you look at it just right in the rising or setting sun, the light reflects off the glass and looks like thousands of diamonds sprinkled on the ground. Beautiful in its own way, you know?

I’m going to make my way through the rest of my workday, catch up on some much-needed sleep, and tomorrow, I’ll share the story of the ex-convict who made my lunch at the conference!

1 comment:

Margaret said...

Whenever I find that I'm setting unrealistic expectations for myself, I blame mom and her whole "you can do anything..."

And, what's a Bible-beater? I don't think I've ever heard that before. It made me laugh to picture you as one though!