Friday January 9, 2015 – settling in for Term 2
Earlier in my UD/UDM time, when I taught a lot of courses, I met the first weeks of each term with curiosity and anxiety; catch a communal rhythm of shared challenge, asking for help, offering help, managing bad days, biting into the curve of the wave of some new thinking. Sometimes missing the wave and then recovering. Would this group of students miss the wave altogether and never gel into a community of learning with its own soul? Sometimes, I would remind myself, the magic doesn’t work so well. Then teacher and students have to suck it up and slog through the learning process. Sometimes you, teacher, feel you’ve let the students down. But what if this group, just coming together, find in themselves a collective capacity to create and be surprised? Is the potential for magic in this room full of human beings? Startup times are uncertain and call for hope.
Mary Oliver’s “Making the House Ready for the Lord” contemplates winter’s early days, a place full of improbable welcome for an unlikely gathering who, with some hospitality, can grow a communal soul. It’s good to read the poem out loud, with some pauses.
Enjoy this wintry weekend.
Today’s Post — Making the House Ready for the Lord
Dear Lord, I have swept and I have washed but
still nothing is as shining as it should be
for you. Under the sink, for example, is an
uproar of mice – it is the season of their
many children. What shall I do? And under
and through the walls the squirrels
have gnawed their ragged entrances – but it is
when they need shelter, so what shall I do?
And the raccoon limps into the kitchen and
opens the cupboard
while the dog snores, the cat hugs the pillow;
what shall I do? Beautiful is the new snow falling
in the yard and the fox who is staring boldly
up the path to the door. And still I believe
come, Lord: you will, when I speak to the fox,
the sparrow, the lost dog, the shivering
that really I am speaking to you whenever I say,
as I do all morning and afternoon: Come in,