It’s December 20, and I should have posted something four days ago. It’s not that I haven’t been thinking about it. I have. I have written one piece that I called “Blog post…Maybe” that I sent off to my two fellow bloggers for comment. They both agreed with me that I was working with a big idea, but I wasn’t quite there. I decided to go back and work on it, but what I realized is that the “Maybe” post won’t be finished in time, since I am already days late. The “Maybe” post can wait. I’ll finish it eventually, and post it eventually. But now is not the time.
Finals week is a week of extreme emotion for me and for my students. I read work that is stunning, and I wonder what I did to help students write so well, and I read work where it’s clear that student has learned little, and I wonder about that, too. While it’s always a relief to be done with grades, part of me mourns the end of the semester. Some students I know I will see again in January, but some I won’t. I worry about some because they are fragile, and their lives could tip quickly into disaster. I have those who will remain always tucked in my heart. I know that teaching brings me deep and painful joy.
So, I sit watching the December sun rise outside my bedroom window, see the black branches of the elms against the sky that slowly turns several different shades of pink, moving from cerise to lavender, and I come back to the works of an early 16th Century monk. He says it better than anything I could write. I offer his words to you.
Fra Giovanni’s Christmas Prayer
I salute you! There is nothing I can give you which you have not; but there is much that, while I cannot give, you can take.
No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today.
No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in the present moment.
The gloom of the world is but a shadow; behind it, yet within our reach is joy. Take Joy!
And so, at this Christmas time, I greet you, with the prayer that for you, now and forever, the day breaks and the shadows flee away.