Tiredness and thankfulness.

This last week I’ve woken up tired. We’ve been going to bed late, and getting up early. Sometimes it seems no matter how much I plan or cajole or wheedle or lament, this keeps happening.

I have gotten really angry about it. It is important to both of us to get in bed at a decent hour. Me, because I’m bipolar, and not enough sleep brings out the weird side of my brain. Scott, because his work schedule means that he has to be up two hours before I do.

But this week I rounded a corner on this. Instead of getting upset about it, I decided to see it as a “this is the way it is” kind of thing. I decided to see it as something that God needs to happen. The fact that I’ve tried to get us to bed on time and we keep not managing to do it means that there is some other force acting on this. I prefer to see that force as God. I prefer to think that God is in charge of everything, and always is moving us in the proper path so that God’s will is properly unfolding.

Perhaps I need to be a little “off” in order to see a situation or a person in certain way. Perhaps being the way I am is helpful to God’s plan. Perhaps being a little tired means that we will both take more time to do something, and thus do it better. Perhaps someone else needs to see either one of us moving more slowly to know that it is OK to go slower, and that life isn’t all about rush rush rush.

The moment I accepted the way things are as part of God’s plan was the moment I felt better.

I think this is what the Lord’s Prayer is all about. I think that what Jesus is trying to teach us is to be OK with what is happening, and not to fight against it. I think that Jesus wants us to totally submit to God, all the time, in everything. I think that Jesus wants us to know that we need to relax into life in order to live life. The more we fight against it, the harder it gets. The more we let God use us as we were made to be used, the better off everything will be.

I think this is part of what Jonah teaches us when he was in the belly of the whale. Everything looked like it was lost. Nothing was going according to his plan. It was dark and smelly and lonely. And yet, in that moment, he gave thanks to God.

In the moment he praised God he was freed.

Writing has saved me.

Writing has saved me. It is my way out of a hard situation. It helps me find words when I have none. It helps me understand and unravel problems.

I feel like I’ve always written. Anybody who says that they are jealous of how I write doesn’t understand how much work is involved. Writing is just like any skill. You have to do it to get better at it. The more you do it, the better you will get. If you want to be better at writing, then you write. A lot.

There are certainly times where I think that what I’ve written is kind of boring, and other times where I think I’ve written something essential. There are times where I think that a piece isn’t quite finished or doesn’t quite say what I want it to, but I post it anyway. There are themes that I will revisit over and over because I still don’t think I have cracked that nut.

I think the point is to keep writing, and keep posting. If I keep a piece until it is perfect, I’ll never post anything. Perfect is relative. What makes sense to me is ignored by others. What is confusing to me is totally understood by others.

I write to stay sane. I write because to not write means that I’m not thinking about what is happening in my life and what has happened to me to get me here. I think writing keeps me conscious and mindful.

Sometimes I think that writing is a way to get into a problem, and sometimes I think it is a way to get away from a problem. The more I write, the more I’m not experiencing life, right? Or, the more I write, the more I’m paying attention. It is hard to tell. I write anyway.

I’m trying to establish a balance, so that I don’t write about everything and all the time. I need to soak up some experiences and let them marinate and ferment a bit before I put them down on paper. But then, writing is also about fully digesting an experience. It forces me to slow down and look at it from all angles. In that, writing is a lot like drawing. When I draw something, I have to slow down and really see it.

When I’m not writing I’m thinking about writing.

I’m grateful I’ve figured out a way to write at work, because it takes the edge off the amount of time that I spend here. Don’t get me wrong. I’m grateful to have a job. I’d just like it if it was more like 30 hours instead of 40. Then I would have more time to live my life.

Every now and then I get really resentful of all the time my job takes from me. If my life span is anything like my parents then I’ll not have any time to myself all. They died before they retired.

I write about things I’m happy about and things I’m afraid of. I write to let other people know landmarks and milestones to look out for. I write to stay alive.

It isn’t the product that really matters sometimes. It is the production. It is the fact that I’m making time to think in this way. Writing is a meditation. It is a retreat in the truest sense. It is getting away from things just long enough to get a good perspective on them. It is making time to really see things like they are. It is digging up the roots.

I think that learning to dig up the roots of feelings has really been the most useful thing I’ve learned this year. Instead of just experiencing my feelings and reactions, I’m tracing them backwards and figuring out where they come from. Who taught me to feel that way? Is that feeling helpful now? Is it even an appropriate reaction? Does it still serve me? Does it prevent me from fully appreciating the situation as it is? Does it mean that I’m missing part of the full picture?

I think that writing has most taught me to see everything new, and now.

Is writing the best way to do that? No. The best way is whatever works for you. You can get there a lot of ways. The important thing is that you get there, to that space in your head where every moment is lived fully and appreciated.

New Year’s reflections for the library.

It is a new year. What will this mean for the library?

It is looking good for the employees. Everything looks stable. Our jobs are affected by the economy, but it is all balancing out. We are slated to get a raise soon, after five years of hiring and wage freezes.

There is a new branch manager. She in one day has already impressed me. She wrote us all a thank you note after her first day saying that she is grateful to be working with us. She has shown appreciation for the innovations we have taken. She has worked in many departments of the system and actually knows how to do everything that everyone does.

This is already more impressive than the last branch manager who only managed to stay hired because the administration was afraid of her hitting them with a racial discrimination lawsuit if she got fired. We all still have a lot of resentment over that. We were abused by an incompetent bully for 12 years and they knew it all along. And when I say incompetent bully, please understand that she was both incompetent and a bully. As for being a bully she was a master.

Our circulation manager is leaving. She is moving to the Main library. This is a promotion for her, and a relief for us. Five years ago I would not have thought this. Five years ago I would have been terrified at the idea of her leaving.

Not now. Now we are all celebrating it.

She has changed. Or I have changed, and I can now see her for who she is. She was never empathetic. She is more interested in getting the job done than getting people to go along with her. People get in the way. She doesn’t understand that if she is going to get something to happen, she has to get all of the staff behind it. She doesn’t get that part of being a manager is actually dealing with people. She has said many times that she doesn’t like dealing with people, so it amazes me that she got a customer service job.

I’m sure a lot of how she thinks has to do with her upbringing. She didn’t really have a childhood. Her parents weren’t really parent material and she had to do a lot of the work. But she is in her mid 40s now, and it is time to unlearn a lot of bad habits. Not listening to your staff when they work up the courage to tell you that something is wrong is a good thing to unlearn, especially when you’ve asked them to give them feedback.

We are all glad she is going. We have noticed in the time she has been working at another branch to fill in that we are all more relaxed. I’m a little concerned now that she is going to spread her negativity not only there but also to the rest of the system. But then, that was their choice. She was hired for that job, so that is what they wanted. Perhaps they can’t see her the way we can. Yet.

As for the patrons, who knows? I suspect there won’t be a lot of change. I suspect we will still have the patrons who come in all day, every day, and play games on Facebook rather than deal with their problems. I suspect we will still have patrons who come in reeking of alcohol who check out the limit on DVDs for the same reason.

Plenty of people use the library to escape. The funny part is that escape works different ways. You can escape your problems by playing games or watching movies or reading the same fluffy fiction over and over. You can also escape them by self educating. With the first, you aren’t fixing the problem. You are just putting it on hold. With the second you are doing something about it.

Both are running away from your problems. It is just that the second one is running toward something.

So it will be a new year at the library. There will be some welcome changes. There will be some predictable consistency. But most of all there will be stories. And thus there will be things to write about. Sometimes I think that is why I stay here.

That, and the fact that I’m not sure what other marketable skills I have.