Like many people in this country, yesterday was a day for me to return to work. It was a good day back. I had worried that I'd return to a bazillion e-mails, but I kept reminding myself that although I felt like I'd been away an eternity, once I factored in the Thanksgiving holiday, it really didn't leave much time for people to send those e-mails. And my inbox was indeed manageable--a happy surprise.
This week is a week of deadlines, but I knew that before Thanksgiving. And the good news is that I am almost ready to meet them.
Yesterday morning, I did a classroom observation, and it was the wonderful kind, where I saw great teaching in action with a room of students who were engaged and applying the theories of the class to their Thanksgiving experiences. In the afternoon, I made steady progress on my accreditation documents, taking some breaks to go count outlets in the Medical Assisting lab--and once again, I'm impressed that my school has this facility.
By the end of the day, I just had a few pieces of information to add to my documents, information that will come from someone else, so I couldn't make much more progress.
I got home, and we had a simple supper of potatoes and fish. We lit the first candle on the Advent wreath and sang the first verse of "Light One Candle to Watch for Messiah." Later, we sat on the porch, in a true candlelit time. By flashlight, I read a Henri Nouwen piece ("Waiting for God") about Mary, Elizabeth, and all the other Advent characters who wait.
I feel like I am in a waiting time too--once these accreditation documents are turned in, we go on to other tasks, and the larger narrative is one of waiting--waiting for the accrediting team to come. It's not your typical Advent message--but then again, we forget how not-typical those Advent stories were. We've had 2000 years to get used to the idea of an angel appearing to tell a girl living in the lowest rungs of Roman society that God had a larger vision for her.
I feel a poem bubbling, which delights me, because I've been feeling a bit dried up.
But for today, I will let it percolate. I have some grading to do for my online classes--and of course, there's still some work to do on these accreditation documents. And I'm still going to try to create some little corners for a contemplative Advent.
While I have not yet created much new art, aside from blog posts, with Advent themes, last night felt important: the second night of Advent, a time out of regular time, even as we did normal activities like eating dinner and sitting on the porch. Let me continue to find these corners of contemplation, for this Advent and beyond.