Sunday, October 12, 2008
Escapism, thy name is French news radio. *
Once upon a time I kept a sabbath. It was a way not to stress, and it was a dictate of my faith; though I had to work Sundays, I focused on personal development, gave all that I earned away, and released myself from all expectation of doing homework. I would do other people's side work and generally be of good cheer and not worry about how much I got tipped, unless I was particularly excited about whatever I was giving it to. In short, I relaxed. It was my day off--not from showing up, but from worrying about it.
It was an important distinction, in some ways; waiting tables is intense work if you do it well (at least till you've been doing it well for awhile), and though being of good cheer is half the battle, the other half involves heavy physical and mental labor. Efficiency is a big deal; details can be a big deal; timing can be a big deal. These things did not come naturally to me.
I'm not a Mormon anymore, and though I maintain a certain code of ethics and still keep a sabbath in an economic sense, somewhere along the way I've lost that ability to make it a day off--a day when it's time not to worry about it. The things I worry about now are different, but also strangely the same.
I used to worry whether I had the capacity to competently preform and keep my job; now I worry whether I have the capacity to competently fulfill my duty to the children I protect. I used to worry that I would always be useless, as evidenced by my chronic failure in school; now (despite the same chronic failure), having chosen to study what is most hard for me, I wonder much more confidently how I'm going to pull it off--knowing that when I have done this, I will be able to do anything. I used to really worry whether I could ever figure out how to get along with people; now I only wonder how to do it without selling my soul.
As any of you who've been in contact know, I've been dealing with some stress; it's a challenge to sleep, a challenge to focus, a challenge eat or not eat as a matter of fuel rather than emotion, and a major challenge to study. Every moment is precious, and somehow that makes it that much harder to know what to do with them; there are always things to study, people to talk to, questions to ask, problems to solve, and often significant conflicts to negotiate. With a strict 6-8 hour sleep schedule, an above average diet, and five workouts a week, I still find myself strung out like a caffeine monkey on finals week. It takes me an hour after going to bed to relax enough to go to sleep.
It is from this background that I again approached sabbath--today--when I strangely awoke to realize I had a full six hours ahead of me before I had any sort of commitment to show up to. I wrote in my journal and cleaned my house and then sat on my bed feeling unoccupied yet overwhelmed, wishing I had a movie to watch or a pizza to eat or Something. Finally I googled "French radio" and thence discovered a new form of zen. Momentarily I was ensconced in quilts and pillows, listening to the crisee financial et something about l'ittalie -- a young woman had been killed, and someone was being extradited? Hard to say. I lapsed into a delicious nap, and after I awoke the radio stayed on for the rest of the evening.
*anyone able to explain what this post has to do with an elephant wearing a tiger mask gets peanuts.