I wanted to sleep until 9 this Saturday morning, but I awoke by 7:45, my mind racing. After getting up briefly, I petted the kitty at the edge of the bed, pulled up the covers and tried to settle back in to sleep. About 10 minutes later, I could tell I might as well get up. The mind would not relent.
The thoughts aren't worry, dread or fear; it's more like I'm incessantly trying to figure things out: How to share what's in my heart without boring or preaching. How to express my concerns without sounding like I'm worrying. How to know what is the right next thing to do in my home life, my relationships, my activities -- with family, friends, at work, church, in fellowship and at play. How to be part of the solution instead of the problem in all of these areas. How to reflect God's glory in all aspects of my life, including relationships and work.
These are the triggers to the most recent round of thoughts:
-- Realizing before I left work yesterday that I face three to four weeks in a row of my less-desirable work schedule, which includes tasks and circumstances I'm not as skilled at and comfortable in dealing with. I said aloud that I want to figure out how to approach this positively, confidently, productively and effectively.
-- Realizing I don't know how to express to my siblings some things I think they may be missing as our parents grow older and face health issues.
One of my biggest worries or fears is that I'll come across as too intense (my behavior was once described as offputting by a superviser at work), a know-it-all, a busybody or meddler. But I know that some of my most valuable lessons have come from finally listening to things I didn't want to hear. Others have come from watching people and learning from their experiences (in this case, seeing four close co-workers and two friends, all about my age, go through the death of a parent or spouse, sometimes unexpectedly and other times gradually, with varying amounts of suffering and angst). And one of the things I've learned is that I don't just assume I or others are "getting it." Sometimes the thing that should be obvious is obscure. I usually don't like it when people point out what I'm missing or any of my weaknesses, but most of the time I end up being grateful.
What does any of this have to do with "back-to-school songs"? Well, Mom posted on Facebook last night that she and Daddy went to the high school football game. I followed her post with lots of questions, ending with this one: "Don't you love having a kid who's a journalist, full of questions?" (This was after I had sent at least one question-filled e-mail earlier in the week.) Mom's response to the final question: "Questions are how we learn."
I believe that. Questions and discussion -- communication -- are a big part of how I learn. Experience is essential, too, but I learn so much about life and myself and others through conversation. I pray to continue to strive to not be overbearing or offputting but to also not be afraid to communicate, especially with family and friends. That is something I've learned since I've graduated from formal schooling. May I never quit learning in the school of life.