Day 132, Monday, April 21, 2008
This morning, during a 9th grade class, I had the old familiar feeling that things weren't going well. I felt like a very mediocre teacher, like my lesson was kind of stumbling along, like I had no idea how to be a good English teacher. I was in a judgmental mood, and my judgment about my teaching was in no way positive. Providentially, about half way through the class a reassuring thought came to me in the form of some questions: "Does Nature ever think things 'aren't going well'? Does Nature ever think it's just 'stumbling along'? Does Nature ever berate itself for being 'mediocre'?" I realized pretty quickly that the answer to those questions is no. Whatever Nature does is ok, acceptable, suitable, up to standard, and somehow beneficial. Whatever happens in the sky, on mountains, in rivers, in the air, or in any animal is what must happen, should happen, and needs to happen. From my narrow human viewpoint, events in Nature might appear 'bad' or 'stumbling' or 'mediocre', but in the big picture there's nothing but rightness in what the universe does. This was a heartening thought, because I, in fact, am part of Nature, and therefore am part of the eternal appropriateness of all things. If I did things differently than I had hoped to in class this morning, they were no less necessary and somehow helpful than strong winds blowing through trees. The trees, and Nature, benefit in some way from the winds, and I and my students will somehow benefit from the surprising things that happened in the 9th grade English class today.