On beer, grading, and finding joy

A very long, exhausting, frustrating Friday ended in a rather fitting fashion: as we were eating dinner, Lukey spilled Scott’s beer all over my jeans.   I can now say with absolutely certainty that few things make me jump up from a chair faster than a bottle of Shiner Bock cascading down my thigh.  I now feel (and smell) like an Oktoberfest tablecloth, and I don’t even like beer.

It’s just been that kind of day: hard for lots of reasons, from the relatively insignificant to the somewhat emotional.  And the three-day weekend, normally an occasion for rejoicing, is turning out to be a real grading death march.  With the end of the semester bearing down on me, I have to grade twelve essays and fifteen journals every day this weekend just to stay on track.  This will be my husband’s chance to try out single parenting, which means it won’t be much of a weekend for him, either.

But enough kvetching.  In the spirit of my Monday Meditation, I’ve looked for joy this week, and I am happy to report that I’ve found it.  I found it on my morning commute yesterday, when, tired and grumpy, I suddenly realized that I was driving into a sunrise of coral pink perfection.  I found it listening to the president’s speech at the Tucson memorial service, which made me cry and hug my kids a little closer and do some reflecting about whether I am making this country a place of connection or a place of division.  I found it while playing with Matthew’s Matchbox cars, when I learned that it is actually very fun to zing tiny vehicles around a curvy track and make them jump over a little gap in the roadway.  (As I wrote the other day, having sons is very broadening.)

And that’s really what it’s all about, right?  We throw the beer-soaked jeans in the wash, plow through the grading, and keep our antennae tuned to the little murmurs of grace that somehow break through the chaotic soundtrack of daily life.

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