Cloister Commentary, Day 89: A Sand Grain

I’ll admit, I ran myself through a ringer yesterday.

Before I took a sip of coffee at 4:55 a.m., I found myself in a quagmire we all know too well: an irresolvable on-line tangle with someone. Why did I insist on engaging? That drained me of almost all the energy that sleep had restored to me–and more significantly, it left me distressed. Finally disengaged and recovered just in time to teach, my students graced me with the most enjoyable class I’ve overseen in over a year. Did I mention I’ve often been called “Mr. Overseen”? That’s the power of my gaze! They made me laugh with pleasure with their insights. After class, I couldn’t just be grateful for the nice session and bask in it; I had to revisit the previous briar of a conversation, fret about a technical GoFundMe issue, revisit the previous briar of a conversation, and perseverate over a lost package until my surging stress level merged with a very strong cup of tea and brought me to the edge of explosion. Nicole, as she does reliably, talked me back about 10 feet from the ledge and onto the couch, where, despite my heart pounding, I eventually lapsed into a 15-minute five-fathoms-deep nap. I awakened not very Van Winkle-like to resume worrying and wishing my old friend was on this plane to talk to–until I checked the GoFundMe to see an anonymous $1000 donation in his memory, the sheer generosity of which (quite seriously) brought me to tears. And joy. Then my high school chum Marcy plunged me into the abyss of depression by reminding me that we graduated from high school two score and about a month ago (does that sound longer ago or nearer to now than 40 YEARS?). Then my good friend Henry called and restored my emotional equilibrium and acceptance of mortality with compassion and humor. Finally, enchiladas, two cold Budweisers, and a dive into the work of Jeff City’s Chester Himes brought me back to myself.

Anyway–it was a day. I am now thankful I was alive for it, and today I am going to try act like I just read a book by Thich Nhat Hanh, which I just did, and also act like I understand that my troubles are like a sand grain in my shoe compared to so many others I know and don’t know–as I should. I hope you all have a better day than yesterday, too.

Streaming for Strivers:

How I’m starting the morning THIS morning. This is for the Carthage High School Class of 1980.

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