Thursday, June 02, 2005

Dangerous Thinking 

For the second time in a month, I recieved notice today that the job I had applied for by the direct recommendation of folks who really could have gotten me in the door was handed to someone else less than 24 hours before my letter was recieved.

Each time I apply for a job, I tell my wife, I write a cover letter than reflects an affection for the school deliberately cultivated through careful research and perusal of their web materials and guidebook listings. What that really means: each time I apply for a job, I have already given them some small portion of my heart.

I have now applied for over 40 teaching jobs for next year.

Some never bothered contacting me. But most did. 4 school visits, three phone interviews, at least one back-and-forth about certfication (nope) and how to apply for state acceptance of mere eligibility (nope, too expensive, not fast enough to matter).

The ones that contacted me were, in the end, a thousandfold more painful. More heart. More time. Higher stakes. Farther to fall.

But they all took my heart. And the heart isn't infinite, after all.

Each time I hear another "no," my heart breaks. It takes me days to recover enough to try again, days in which I turn inward, losing my family, staring into space, responding to the most innocent queries and basic kidneeds with snappishness and short temper.

I cannot lose them if they are my only future. I cannot trade them for the constant rollercoaster that runs over my heart day after day after day. After four months of this -- four months -- I have no heart left.

And here I had been hoping to save some to say goodbye. The last students that may ever love me, the last coworkers that ever cared about me; they're going, going, gone in 48 hours or less.

We have to begin packing immediately, though we know not where we're going. I'm supposed to be cleaning out my office right now, in fact.

Syllogistically, then. I think I may have decided today that I just can't apply for any more jobs. Not if I want to be sane. Not if I want to have the heart to love a place again someday.

Where the hell does that leave me?

Such a nice day outside, after weeks of rain and cloud. Think I'll get the hell out of this deserted information commons and just lie in the grass, soaking up the universe. My heart close to the earth. Maybe the world, like a huge battery. Maybe the sun, like a chastising presence.

Maybe not. But what the hell are they going to do, fire me?

If nothing else, putting that last brick in the wall around your heart leaves you invulnerable.

I remember. It's how she found me in the first place. Back when the walls were transparent. Back when the process of loving someone after years of drought was a way to pull down the walls.

I love my wife. But I also know her, now. I know this love, this life, this family.

It is not enough, I think. Not the same. Not new, not empty.

And if it is not enough...then maybe nothing will be.

posted by boyhowdy | 1:13 PM |

If I could, I'd lend you strength for the days ahead.

I hope and pray that as these doors close for you, others will open.
things will get better at some point in time.

circular you know?

sometimes its very hard to be greatful for what you have when you feel like you are losing it all right now.

but youre really not. Worldy possesions shouldnt tie you down.

hold on to what is most important to you, and i dont mean a job.

you'll find one, one way or another. I'm sorry the would is being so mean, but it will get better.

It always does.

Just hang in there ya? Ive been through a good deal of crap im my life as well.

Just try to avoid living anywhere around Boston in a hotel. Those are not good living conditions, I would know.

I guess I think what goes around comes around. Things suck now, but they will get better eventually, with time.

Only the people you love can help you get through this, and dont ever stop trying, for then you have lost.

Its really hard to continue when it seems all your efforts are trash, but they are not.

Youre trying and thats what matters. You didnt give up after 2 interviews, so why stop now?

I dont really know what else to say other than good luck, and I know something will come around.

You just have to have faith.
I am so sorry you are going through this.

I talk a lot but that doesn't mean I always (or ever) have the right words.

I look back at those days we were at the Grad Center and am amazed at how things can change in a few (seven) years. Marriages, babies, job changes. Just one more change.

Good luck. I will be here reading.
i know exactly the soul-sapping drain.

if misery loves company:
1 Where DO the mornings go?
2 That's the spirit
3 CV or not CV
n Over-Qualified, Under-Connected
(forgot to mention -- their tone goes from funny thru to horrendous)
A life lesson
A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose. Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil, without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me, what do you see?" "Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied. Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg. Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled
as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, "What does it mean, mother?"

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity ... boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

"Which are you?" she asked her daughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?" Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength? Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are
you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy. The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can't go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.

Set your goals. Perform consistently. Believe in yourself. Share your dream with others. Your hard work will pay off, because when you are driven by a dream, you will reach your ultimate destination.

There are three types of people in this world: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened. We all have a choice. You can decide which type of person you want to be.
That was unbearably painful, just to read, without knowing a tenth of the experience itself.
I hope you manage to find in yourself continue, regardless. You have three things there that are precious, still. Still.
I have all the time in the world. Today I'll...

and then read the post below it
Thanks all, both silent and sharing, for the outpouring of support.

May you, too, be embraced by the wide blogosphere in your darker days.
Get over it. It is all your perspective.
"The thing that upsets people is not what happens but what they think it means."
- Epictetus
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