Two friends, from two very different contexts … two different generations. Two very different responses to the news of Local School Districts (including ours) delaying the start of school because of bitterly cold weather (well, bitterly cold for These Parts) and wind chill. M, who’s taught for years and has grown children, was surprised and pleased to see compassion and concern for young people – especially those who don’t have or can’t afford heavy winter coats they’d rarely use. C, whose oldest child hasn’t started school yet, was disgusted by the waste of taxpayers’ money he perceived. I could almost hear the outraged thought: “We never closed school for cold weather when I was a kid!”
Personally, I was grateful for a few more minutes’ sleep, grateful for heat and power, grateful for a house that stays comfortable and habitable even when there is a power outage. And grateful to the Local Power Company, which has been responding quickly to outages as they happen – including the one that had started right before The Dog and I took our morning walk, but was over by the time I’d finished my (slightly dark) shower. Grateful, too, that I’ve lived in real cold and know how to dress in layers for the not-so-terribly cold forecast for today, with current temperatures in the teens and a forecast high in the upper twenties. Grateful for family and friends, grateful for a good day ahead with the Latin Family.
Grateful for an unexpected chance to talk with an old friend, who “just happened” to be at the grocery store when I got there Monday afternoon. Grateful to put a name with a familiar face, who “just happened” to introduce himself. Grateful that the Really Long Meeting on Monday afternoon wasn’t as long – or as horrible – as “testing training meetings” can sometimes be. Grateful for good news from good friends, even though they’re still frustrated by air and train-related glitches.
Grateful that U’s family member isn’t that much worse, even though he’s never going to be that much better. Grateful for conversations, face-to-face and virtual, with friends old and new, near and far.
Grateful for the amazing conversation we had about the gulfs as well as the connections between the Romans and us in the upper-level class Monday. Grateful for D, who caught up with her Tres Columnae reading over Winter Break even though there wasn’t a review packet or a specific assignment. Grateful for B, who finally seems to be realizing that good intentions without follow-through won’t bring him the results he seeks.
Grateful for an unexpected connection when I was unexpectedly home and available Monday night.
Grateful for a sunny, though chilly day.
Grateful for the communities – especially the joyful learning communities – that I’m able to participate in.
It’s easy to see the ugliness and discomfort, to make a list of the things that are wrong and troublesome … and sometimes it’s really important to do that, especially when you’re working for change. But it’s also important to open your eyes to the good things, to see what’s already going well, to embrace any signs of joy and community you can find. To build on the good as work to eliminate the ugly and the uncomfortable.
I wonder what new insights and discoveries await us all today!