Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Nothing new under the sun...


I’m in a strange kind of mood today. It’s Sunday morning, the time I usually sit staring out the front window, picking at my cuticles, and wondering what I can possibly write about this week that I haven’t written about before.

Except it’s not the same time. It’s an hour later this week. At the rate I’m going, my hair will still be wet when I get to church and I might still be wearing this robe that’s seen better days. Judging by the eastern sky, which I get up and look at when I grow tired of the view out the front window, it might still be dark outside.

But I’ve written about Daylight Savings Time before. I hated it when I wrote about it. Still do.

I check the news online in the morning before I do much of anything else. The horror of earthquakes and tsunamis contributes to my melancholy mood. Is this something humankind has caused over the years, by messing with things that should maybe have been left alone? I don’t have a single scientific brain cell, nor do I have facts of any kind to back up that thought. But I still wonder, though I think I’ve written about that before.

I read the political section of the news and flinch at its content. I was a union member for most of the years of my working life. I wasn’t lazy, never got rich, never expected payment I had not earned. Neither did most of the people I knew. There are some, of course, who take advantage of whatever system is there, but it doesn’t have to do with them belonging to a union; it has to do with who they are.

I have kids and friends who are teachers and grandkids in the public school system. I spent Friday morning at the elementary school just up the road, cutting quilt blocks for students to decorate with Dr. Seuss characters. They listened, laughed, and learned. I enjoyed. Earlier in the year, I spent a day with high schoolers. Many of them did not want to be there, they weren’t interested in someone old enough to be their grandmother who wrote a newspaper column and romance novels. But they listened, sometimes they laughed, some of them learned. I enjoyed. In those two visits, I doubt I did one thing to help even a single student to ace his or her ISTEP scores, but I don’t think their days were wasted. I know mine weren’t.

There are problems, lots of them, in public schools, but should those problems be solved on the statehouse floor by people whose agendas have more to do with other things than with what actually goes on in most classrooms? Or should they be solved by people whose primary interest is in covering all the educational bases rather than just some of them?

But I have written about politics and education before.

Ecclesiastes 1:9 says there is nothing new under the sun. (Which did, two hours into my struggle with writing this, finally come up.) I imagine that’s true, and goodness knows, I don’t come up with much that’s new for this column. So maybe this week is just a reminder.

That if you dislike (or love, for that matter) Daylight Savings Time, you need to let the lawmakers know. They are there to represent their constituents, not their own personal interests; it’s up to you to tell them what you want.

That disasters are everywhere. They’re terrifying and large beyond what I can comprehend. Even though I’ve written about them before, I don’t want to do it again. If you pray, please do. If you give, please do that, too.

That politics and education are everywhere, too. The bad part is, politics have grown too important and education not important enough. We need to get our priorities straight once and for all. That way, even though I might write about politics and education again, I’d be able to write funny. Because it’s not funny right now. Not the least little bit.

And I guess I need to be reminded that not all days are happy ones and not all moods are good. That—Ecclesiastes again—there is a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance. Maybe this time of earthquakes and internal strife is our time to mourn. I hope we dance soon. And then I’ll write about it.

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