I began graduate school when “things” were good in U.S. society. Jobs were plentiful. Innovation was rampant. Grants and Research funding were flowing, I mean not overflowing, yet the stream was strong. Some questioned why I would continue into a doctoral program in a discipline that was so enigmatic. My masters degree and experience was a solid meal ticket.
A third of the way into my doc program, folks were running to graduate school. Various sectors of the economy were tanking. “Things” were bad everywhere, and for nearly everyone. Folks were applying to and matriculating into graduate school like it was the line for commodities at the community center.
Around this time I encountered a quote/saying that was quippy and made me giggle.
“Due to the recession the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off.”
As it turns out, things got THICK in my doctoral program and subsequently in my ENTIRE life shortly after this nugget was shared with me. Amazingly enough, this little quip helped me through the darkest of periods. It was somewhat of a mantra in the last legs of journey through graduate school.
However, tonight it died a miserable death.
Tonight while relaxing and enjoying a sporadic summer evening’s rain and a cool breeze, I sat rocking with my eyes closed and praying. As I concluded I breathed deeply and would normally have begun to hum softly. Instead I unintentionally found myself ear hustling a conversation that flipped my priceless gem completely. This little nugget that got me through by far the toughest process of my life was now shattered. Something entirely different was revealed; something that is more valuable to me presently.
“As a leader, you are the light at the end of the tunnel. Find ways to be inspired, to chip away at the barriers ahead.” ~ Lincoln Stephens
My breath caught in my throat and my ear hustling game was discovered. Yet, since I wasn’t a part of the conversation I was luckily able to retreat back into my own lair of thoughts. I recalled a poem I wrote last winter just as my current season was beginning.
What You Are
You are life
You are love
You are a covenant
You are a promise
You are a commitment
You are a sacrifice
You are a protector
You are a cover
You are loving
You are sustaining
You are supportive
You are obedient
You are inspiring
You are tireless
There are no reinforcements
You are who your grandmothers prayed for
Due to the encouragement of one of my mentees, it also happens to be the first poem I ever performed in front of an audience. I’ve shared it with you, because the sentiments of the quote, and the poem are so much more valuable than the original quip.
The original quote and it’s sentiments made me giggle. These words and thoughts bring me joy.