This morning, while I was in the midst of delivering a stimulating sermon to my ever-intellectually-evolving undergraduates about the historical derivation of feminism, the red light on my silenced cell phone started flashing. The rabbi was calling. Hmm. Despite the fact that I was mid-sentence...in the middle about something involving post-rationalist critiques of the blatant misogyny and absence of women in those canonical elements of Enlightenment thought...I was tempted to answer the call. After all, the rabbi knows the specific times that I am in the classroom. Obviously, the call must have been an important one.
After the class, my students took a little longer than usual in gathering their shaken and stirred brains from the ceiling and floor, along with their heavy coats, back packs, and so on. I initiated the task of wiping down the chalkboard walls, the evidence that I had just spent the past 75 minutes as their Femme Pied Piper Professor, marching them in veritable song and dance through a journey of understanding the story of human potential. I stood to erase the vocabulary words and wild, dialectical sketches I drew on the board to demonstrate the big ideas that I was bandying about with the hope that two or three of them will actually get it, and, at the very least, the rest of them will be informed enough to say interesting and intelligent things in defense of feminism at their parent's next cocktail party. In doing this, I stopped for a second and realized, once again, that I have arrived...for now...at the destination point that I have been seeking for years. I am doing the good work I felt needed to be done in academia. By sheer virtue of the fact that I am even standing at that chalkboard, doing and saying the things that I get to do and say...my G-d...I am the change I wished to see...
The usual suspects lingered one after the other. Then, the last student disappeared. Suddenly, my audience was gone. For a second, I lamented the fact that my arm was tired, not just from writing, but from erasing. Again, I stopped to reconsider the hieroglyphics of my chalkboard scribbles. And again, it struck me that there hasn't been a single day of my journey that has been necessarily easy, but, gosh...it has been interesting, and worth it, even. All of the blood, sweat and tears. All of the sleepless nights, endless hours of reading, processing, writing, critiquing, and processing again and again until I got it, knew it, could make connections with it, and still make it all appear so...flawless, without strain, or struggle. Well, at least today, it felt worth it...
As I walked out of the classroom, my phone beeped again, reminding me that I had a missed call. In this solitude of self-congratulation, I made my way back to my office, sat down and rang the rabbi. He was excited to hear my voice.
"I had a sudden vision about you this morning," he said. "Like, a flash. It was so beautiful!"
"Ok...and what did this vision entail?", I replied in a playful tone.
"Well, you know what you would just be so amazing and wonderful at doing aside from what you do already that is so amazing and wonderful?"
"I had a vision of you starting your own school for genius kids, where you teach them how to be happy and productive geniuses. You would be so good at this. Like, teaching young people how to eat right and take care of their minds and bodies, so that they can be good, educated leaders in their communities and change the world."
"That's pretty interesting," I replied. (Interesting because I have never discussed my dreams of building a school with the rabbi. I have also specifically failed to mention to him that it is my intention to foster and adopt as many children as possible in the years to come. Let's just say that these aren't conversations that just come up between passing the salt and falling in love. One thing at a time, please.)
He went on.
"I don't know, Namaste. This vision of you was...just...well...a really sexy Mother Teresa..."
I laughed, of course. I couldn't help it.
The bottom line? Knowing that the work is good...being the change itself...gives me absolutely no reason to frown. And the rest? Well, the rest will come with time.