Hypothetically, Monday was supposed to be a vacation day to make up for not taking Friday as a holiday. So I woke up and did the various things necessary to make my immune system happy (inhaling shower-steam, sinus-unclogging sprays, etc.), phoned in to the CommArch call, and spent the morning talking with Matt about entrepreneurship, reading through stacks and stacks of library books (5), and plunging through personal email. Of which there is a massive backlog.
Abi taught me how to work a bit on my own scar tissue - since they're from chest tubes and a tracheoctomy from over 2 decades ago, it feels like there are 9 hard wooden plugs pounded through my chest cavity and my throat, and they feel pinchy and splintery when you work them, and now that one of them's more or less relaxed, the contrast between soft, warm flesh there and the gritty feel of the rest is pretty pronounced. Breathing. I'm still on reduced lung capacity from being sick last week, so walking upstairs winds me and makes my heart gasp to pump enough oxygen, so breathing just a little more helps quite a bit.
Was introduced to Frederick Buechner's definition of vocation, which I love: "The place where your deep gladness meets the world's deep need." This was in a book by Parker J. Palmer called Let Your Life Speak - I picked it up because I'm a great admirer of his earlier book, The Courage To Teach. Palmer is an introvert, like me - reading his work reminds me that the inner work I do (like writing this blog) isn't useless fluff, but rather nourishment that lets my roots grow strong and deep so that I may bear fruit. I need to tend myself if I'm to give myself at full capacity.
My brother's grown up into a wonderful young man. I so look forward to seeing him at Stanford - it'll be his turn to show me a school he loves. I'm looking forward to the CA-NC trip next week - so much open source and engineering education goodness! And so much learning how to punctuate my whirlwinds with breathers so that I can better take advantage of the whirlwinds.
And Sheri Sheppard and Jeri Ellsworth are inspiring people - I would love to meet them. Hurrah for self-taught electronics and doing engineering education as legitimate research! It's also pretty neat that I was able to say "oh! I've met these people!" for all but one of the folks in Sheri's article - Olin was really the best place I ever could have started being interested in engineering education. I should start a weekly habit of writing letters to people i'm intimidated and awed by.
Now it is Tuesday, and I am - if not yet at full lung capacity, refreshed and ready to hit another week of Awesomeness before I hop another plane. Hooah!
And for future reference - doing what you really, deep down inside, believe you should be doing - pursuing your vocation - doesn't make that calling easy or glamorous or even prevent it from becoming ordinary. You get used to it. When you ask "am I where I ought to be?" the quiet answer does still wonder where else you could go, but also says yes, where you are now is the right place. And a deep spring of gratitude wells up, that this could be your life. I haven't really gone to church or even formally prayed since I was a teenager, but I know now what it means to have your work be your offering and your song.