Ten years ago, I was a doctoral student at NYU. I worked all day as the drama specialist for a school district up in Queens--so I was in a different school each day doing a variety of projects. Then, I'd ride the train into Manhattan and go to school in the evening.
Getting to work was about a 90 minute proposition, sometimes 2 hrs, depending on which school I was assigned to that day, so I had to leave fairly early in the morning.
I'd get done with class around 9 or 10, depending on the night, and then catch a few trains home. If I hit everything just right, I got a bus that took me a block away from my house. If not, I had to walk about 12 blocks to get home.
I remember quite vividly these very long walks on very cold nights. I felt so tired and worn, and was already stressed about the fact that I'd have to be waking up very soon the next morning and it would all start again.
I'd look at the windows of the houses I walked past and could see through the curtains into what looked like warm living rooms filled with families watching TV, eating and so forth. The contrast between these folks relaxing with their families and enjoying the evening heightened what was already a pretty keen sense of misery.
My greatest aspiration became to someday have a comfortable home, instead of a dingy apartment, and to be able to be home in the evening and just enjoy my family--play a game, watch TV, read a book--and not have class or studying to do, not be getting a pit in my stomach when I thought of going to work the next day and so forth.
Two nights ago, it was a coolish, fallish sort of night here. I got home from rehearsal, tired, but happy after a day at a job I like. And then, I did--nothing. We ate dinner, and then just sort of vegetated. I watched a TV show with the older kids, snuggled with the 4 year old while he went to sleep, and read a few pages in a book. It was blissful, heavenly, and nirvanic. In fact, it was everything I hoped for so many years ago.
We live far enough out that I'm pretty sure no cold, tired graduate student was walking past our house on his way home that night. But I'm pretty sure that if there had been one, he would have looked in the window and thought "Wow, that looks really great. I hope I can have that some day."
So, to all my friends who are struggling right now as you go to school, as you raise your young families, as you fill your Church assignments and everything else that is going on--hang in there! Life will get better and it will be worth it. I promise!
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