I stopped at Walgreens Pharmacy and I purchased little gift cards for the support staff and cleaning people at my school. I thought about how my wife and I always recognize the people who work the hardest jobs and get the least recognition. We have both have had some hard jobs in this lifetime and we have both felt unappreciated. So, I drove home feeling alright. Feeling Fantastic! Optimistic. I was feeling like things were looking up. Then I hit a deer.

 

By Louis De Lauro

 

We all understand life has up and downs.

I have had a few tough weeks. Side effects from the biologic Remicade have pummeled me.

Headaches.
Stomach pain.
Lack of sleep.
Can’t eat much.
But I am okay.

I know Remicade makes me vulnerable to Covid, but I persevere. I am proud to write I have been teaching in-person since April. And yes, I taught all summer. And yes, every day has been daunting. But I’ve been successfully teaching kids at a special school. I am teaching kids who I feel really need me; it’s hard, but life is hard. Most days I love it.

Driving home today I had a s’mores cupcake. It was amazing! A rare treat for me. We sang Happy Birthday to my friend at work today and celebrated with cupcakes. I saved mine for the ride home.

Driving home I thought about all the great writing I am getting from my students at school. For a few minutes, I was feeling great!

My drive is nearly an hour each way. Today I listened to Billy Joel and sang along. Only the Good Die Young and We Didn’t Start the Fire. No, I don’t know all the words, but I love to sing.

Then I saw a dancing Santa at my local gas station, and I really laughed. This guy could dance. He had moves.

I stopped at Walgreens Pharmacy and I purchased little gift cards for the support staff and cleaning people at my school. I thought about how my wife and I always recognize the people who work the hardest jobs and get the least recognition. We have both have had some hard jobs in this lifetime and we have both felt unappreciated.

So, I drove home feeling alright. Feeling Fantastic! Optimistic. I was feeling like things were looking up.

Then I hit a deer.

I was driving slowly on a back road just five minutes from home and I was driving with my brights on hoping to avoid hitting a deer. But things didn’t go my way. It broke my heart to kill a deer. And I wrecked my car. At least I didn’t get hurt. But my back is sore.

I got home late…and then quickly found out Covid has shut my school down. I will be teaching online again for a few weeks. Maybe longer. Who knows?

I do know life kicks your ass.

Then rewards you.

Then kicks your ass again.

And sadly, life will eventually kill me. In my simple Buddhist mind, I remind myself that I am no different than a fragile deer. So what is next? More rewards? Yes, probably too many to write about here.

And more suffering too? Sure. Suffering is inevitable.

So how do you deal with suffering? How do you wake up tomorrow and teach students something new? Something worthwhile? I am brave enough and old enough to suggest I might know the answer.

You wake up tomorrow. You acknowledge the suffering. You say aloud or in your head: I accept the headaches. I accept the stomach pain.

I accept the fact that I killed a beautiful animal on a dark road.

I accept the fear that I might die tomorrow. I accept that my car is wrecked. I accept that my school is closed. I accept all of it. It is all just life. Ups and downs.

Dancing Santa’s and lack of sleep.

Tomorrow is another day.

Embrace it!
Sing!
Dance!
Dance like Santa at the gas station!
And buy the people who are underappreciated a small gift.

Drive carefully on a dark road. Be thankful for every moment. Every breath. Teach with passion and love. Keep reminding yourself daily about life’s ups and downs.

And eat a cupcake!
Photo: Pixabay

Editor: Dana Gornall

 

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