Although we’ve decided to conduct the rest of the semester online, I return to the classroom to use the time to think just about classes – not all the other things on my desk or in the office that pull on my attention while I’m there. I open the course homepage and find email from both classroom and online students. I do my best to respond, spending most of the allotted class time trouble-shooting the gradebook via remote control (mobile phone) with an ally and friend in the Distance Education office in between bouts of conversation with the students filtering in for the next class. Two students contact me in hopes of explaining themselves, their situations or ePortfolio presentations. I invite them to join me during their regularly scheduled class time but get no reply while I am there, in the room. God is teaching me something. I only wish I weren’t such a slow learner, though slow might be precisely the lesson.
Once I return to my office, there is a commotion in the suite. A colleague has slipped in the hallway and needs medical attention. I share with her a poem and an offer of tea or water to drink, and a ride wherever she may need / want to go. Poetry is ever a comfort to me and usually, one of Lucille’s comes to mind in such situations. This time, it was Edna St. Vincent Millay’s line from God’s World, though at first Wislawa Szymborska‘s View With A Grain of Sand tried to suggest itself but I could neither remember nor spell her name at the time. Tis a wonder how it comes to me now, so simply, as if my own. Anyway, the hunch that my suite-mate would enjoy a poem paid off, and now, because of souls like William Blake and Mary Oliver, I am reminded that neither of us has to face yet another dark night of the soul alone.