a place at the table: life right now

Get ready for some irony, because I'm literally taking some time off of completing my never-ending to-do list to write about how crazy life is.  Mostly because I want to not go completely insane.  Also because I appreciate having records of the crazy as well as the awesome to look back at later.

Anyway.  Right now my life is full of students.

Which is great, because hey, it's a huge part of why I live in China.

So, on the pro side: my students want to be engaged and are eager to talk to me, to learn, and to spend time together.

...on the con side, my students are eager to be engaged, to talk to me, and to spend time together.  And to ask me all the questions.

I, being a single person with limited time, energy, and sanity, am working on juggling this.  It is stretching for the patience and graciousness which I possess.  Which is great, because I have access to all of those qualities that I could possibly mean.  It just means relying on a strength that is not my own.

Right now my life looks like many meals with students, full of sometimes awkward, sometimes deep, and sometimes hilarious conversations.  It sounds like so much laughter.  (A student followed me out of the restaurant this evening and burst into such hysterical laugher that she could barely speak.  "WHAT IS WRONG???" we all asked her, completely confounded.  "Your bag is so cute!" she finally gasped out, pointing to my small backpack.  .....maybe I'm not the only one who feels like they're spinning too many plates?)  It also sounds like me and Miriam trying to figure out what on earth our students are thinking.  (I semi-seriously questioned if one of my classes today had been body snatched by aliens who had never heard of homework or outlines.)

Life right now entails lists of things that need to be done scribbled on virtually every available surface, growing just as fast as things are crossed off.  (Okay, faster.)  There are text messages and we chat messages full of logistics for the days and weeks and months to come -- meals, travel dates, homework assignments.  Tonight I downloaded an IPA keyboard onto my phone because how else to answer the question about the different pronunciations of "the"?  Today there were conversations about future careers and religion and the earthquake eight years ago.

I love this life.  I love my students to the point of distraction and tears and laugher and sheer exasperation, all within the same day.

Also, I'm definitely channeling the Alexander Hamilton feels.  Non...STOP.

More seriously, yes, life is insane.  But this is what I chose and this is exactly what I want.  A couple of friends recently posted a link to this fantastic article: The Power of a Dinner Table.  David Brooks writes, "Souls are not saved in bundles. Love is the necessary force."  It doesn't always look like dinner together (although tonight it did).  Reading the article brought to mind Josh Garrels' words:

There will always, always be
A place for you at my table.


Because I've been given a place at another table.


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