I’m driving home from a depressing budget meeting where I learn that the English Department can no longer afford to keep many of its most wonderful instructors. Courses might be cut, faculty might lose work, and entire departments could be reconfigured. Times are tough, and my teaching future seems uncertain.
I’m moving along the road at exactly 2 mph because a blizzard swells about us. With little visibility and no traction, I follow the line of cars for a 30 minute commute that should take 4 minutes. Finally, the traffic breaks as I turn right onto a main road. More traveled, this road seems clear and open. I accelerate ahead, my mind replaying the budget meeting.
Suddenly I’m swerving and sliding in my lane. You just can’t lose focus and drive in a blizzard, no matter how clear the roads appear. My mind snaps back to the present moment like I’ve changed channels on a television. And the picture in view astounds me: a winter wonderland stretches out for miles, pure white, with fluffy flakes like miniature coconut cupcakes falling all around.
I continue on, and I force my mind’s full attention on the road before me. I can’t let it wander–not even for a second–in these driving conditions.
Besides, it’s beautiful out here.
A danger threatens when I’m dwelling on that past meeting or fretting about a future that’s not even here. I keep my hands on the wheel, look straight ahead, and marvel at the freshly fallen snow.
It’s the only way I’ll get home safely.
Journal: How do I let my worries about the future rob me of joy?