Today was the first chapel day of the year. The arrival of chapel means that I’ve been through a full “cycle” of the new school week (even though we’ve only been in school four days). So now I have a real opportunity to work on the rhythm of my week (more or less).
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve found myself working in two gears: non-stop or nothing. Either I’ve got a lot of things to do and and trying to get things done or I am vegging out (mostly alone, sometimes with the neighbors). It’s a bit of a whiplash thing for me, a transition that I don’t handle all that well. Such a dynamic is one of the reasons why people occasionally speak of “third spaces,” places like a gym or a coffee shop or some other place that exists between work and home. It’s a great concept, one that I embrace most days. What’s interesting is that those “third spaces” can be just as lonely as the other two. As such, there is no restorative promise attached, just distraction and a pinch of procrastination.
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So here’s to learning more about myself, how to healthily navigate the spaces and relationships that mark each day. I would like a happy medium, where good-but-not-frantic work gets done with and in the presence of others, work that is in many ways more restorative than simply zoning out at the end of a long day. I think that’s one way we can learn to “spur one another on to love and good deeds.” And that doesn’t mean weaponizing or instrumentalizing those “third spaces.” It means finding good ways to do the right kind of thing together.
All we really want in those first couple of weeks is a normal week, and it’s like the one thing we’re certain not to get. What a strange job.