Sunday, October 12, 2014

Low Battery

"Oh Mrs. Wiiiiinterstein! Plug in! Plug in!" One of my very supportive 8th graders shouted out this message in the midst of our science lesson. She had noticed the warning window pop up as I, unaware, was continuing teaching. This was Monday. It only took me a few days to become oblivious once again.

Friday my laptop did indeed go to sleep. No charge in the reserve it had enough, and my display blacked out. No voice of  concern calling out, I pushed the device until it had nothing left to give. My device may very well be smarter than its owner. I am afraid my computer is not the only arena that I have allowed to dwindle to low or no reserves. 

Having recently flown, I was audience to the friendly airline attendant's schpiel about "Oxygen and air pressure are always being monitored. In the event of loss of pressure in the cabin, oxygen masks will automatically appear from the overhead compartment. To start the flow of oxygen, pull the mask towards you. Place the mask firmly over your nose and mouth and secure the elastic behind your head and breathe normally. Please secure your own mask before securing that of a child or someone who requires assistance with whom you may be traveling." At first blush this imperative seems like it may be ego-centric to serve oneself the oxygen cocktail first, but if one is passed out due to lack of oxygenation one cannot be of much service to anyone. Note to self: When the plane starts downward spiraling secure your life-sustaining measures first to better serve those around you.

I am prone to running far too deeply into my reserves. I justify my behavior because the people and tasks with whom I busy myself ARE so important to me. If I just hone this lesson a bit more, send these three important emails, and dig a bit deeper into this curricular text, it can only benefit my students more and me as their teacher, right? I sell myself out to the 24/7 mentality as it is demonstrates solid work ethic. Seems honorable, right? However, I neglect to remember that the Divine Creator Himself instituted a Sabbath. If God modeled it, who am I to think I can continuously deny myself that rest and recharge?

Many Augusts ago when my children were toddlers, and napping, I was on the phone with a teacher friend of mine. I was lamenting to her how I had looked forward to spending the summer with my own children, but now I was exhausted, and disappointed with myself for dragging. She laughed and replied, "Oh Teres, that is because being a mom and being a teacher are both all-consuming if you do them right, and you do." I took it as depressing compliment. Now as I reflect upon that I still believe in throwing myself whole-heartedly into being a mom and a teacher. However if "myself" has dwindled and diminished to a shadow of who I could be, of what good or service is that to my children or students? 

I have a feeling, that like my laptop,  I am running toward "sleep soon UNLESS [I am] plugged into a power outlet." What would my power source charge read right now? What would your charge currently read? My reading may be close to critical if I heed the warning signs. Friday evening I slept 11 hours. Woke to have breakfast and after breakfast took a 2.5 hour nap. It may be time to recharge. How do I do this without that pang of guilt that I should be more wisely spending my time? How do we view these times of re-charge as an investment opportunity instead of a waste of efficiency? What renews each of our sources of energy? How do we each carve out time to spend with those people or within those activities that reinvigorate us? How will we each plug in, so we do not fade out? 


  1. As a writer and a friend, I always enjoy reading your posts. Your wit and wisdom fascinate me, your teaching and family exploits inspire me, and your character reminds me to keep my eyes fixed above.
    I wish I had answers to the "low battery" dilemma, but I am in the same proverbial boat that you are rowing in. No matter where I spend my efforts, I have a nagging question deep in my brain that perhaps I should have spent more energy elsewhere. This makes it challenging to celebrate or enjoy moments or accomplishments. It also keeps me from being fully present, and from resting in the knowledge that i am fearfully and wonderfully made.
    And my instincts tell me that if there is an answer for me, it lies somewhere in that acknowledgement - that I am enough in my creator's eyes, and my soul will find a peace that eludes me if I can rest in my relationship with him. I get glimpses of this rest when I soak in his truth, or his presence, and these glimpses lead me to believe that if I can somehow find the key to giving my best, and then giving myself over to him, I will be fully charged inside.
    I may not get there until my earthly battery is fully spent, but I believe that vision will come to fruition.
    Best wishes, friend. Thank you for sharing your reflection and leading

  2. ...others to ask the same questions.

  3. Greg,

    That word/idea "enough" is another concept with which I have been jotting and doodling and pondering. On Tolstoy's would have been birthday I shared his Three Questions parable with my grade 7&8 students. We enjoyed some solid conversation and questioning around his questions and answers. So important the asking, and how we answer. I am still charging myself with the inquiry and how I answer. Our awareness is a great first step I think. Here's to the journey of discovery in community...