Thursday, November 13, 2014

Intimations of Mortality

--Yesterday I got to work to find that none of the plugs in my office worked.  Hmm.  I tried not to see it as an ominous omen.

--You'd think a circuit breaker had tripped, but that was not the case.  Luckily, the electricians who had been replacing lights in the hall were still in the building.  Something in a distant ceiling had come undone while they were replacing lights, and they could fix it.  Ninety minutes later, I had power.

--While I was waiting for the plugs to work, which means the computer access necessary for most of my work, I went to various classes to talk about the Art Grant.  Our school has created this opportunity for students to reduce their tuition cost by 15-20%.  Part of it is naked self-interest, in the light of the Gainful Employment legislation.  But it ultimately helps students, so I'm willing to advocate for it.

--Some have speculated that the money freed up from the discontinuing of the company's match of our 401K accounts will go to this Art Grant.  On some level, I hope that's true.  I mind less losing money to student grants than the thought of the company match going to executive bonuses.

--In my idealistic grad school years, I would never have dreamed I would write a sentence like the last one.

--I spent the rest of the work day engaged in pursuits that I hope will make a difference:  telling classes about the Art Grant, helping students with transfer credit questions, welcoming new students at Orientation, taking a Math class off hold for a bit of time so that registration could happen, all the minutiae which hopefully helps students towards graduation.

--I ended the day by going to a funeral.  It was oddly inspiring in its own right.  For more on the spiritual aspect, see this post on my theology blog.

--It was sort of like a family reunion.  I saw church members who worship at different services, church members who have been away tending sick relatives, members who have moved to different churches.  It was good to see everyone, good to rejoice in a life well lived.

--It was good to be reminded that life is very short.  Does that make me seem strange?  I often think of monks who sleep in their coffins or artists like John Keats, who cough up a bit of their lungs each morning and thus reminded of impending death, go on to produce their best work.

--I think of the Grandmother and the Misfit in that Flannery O'Connor classic, "A Good Man Is Hard to Find."  I think of the Misfit saying that the Grandmother would have been a good woman if there had been someone there to shoot her every day of her life.

--That reminder of mortality--it's a powerful jolt.

--So this morning, back to wrestling with poems.  I'm working with images of paintbrushes buried in the dirt, poinsettias who hear an ancient music, and the strange songs of comets.

No comments: