I seem to spend a great deal of my time wondering what is going to happen next. There is a popular book entitled “The Power of Now” which suggests that to be happy we can only think about what is happening at this moment. If that is true, I am likely not to be happy very often.
I have a goal-oriented focus. For the past three years, I had worked on my Master’s degree in Social Work and looked forward to the day I would graduate, which happened on May 16, 2005. I was depressed that day, if I remember correctly. A friend of mine “threw” me a party, and all I could think about was that I was leaving in 3 days for Europe. I especially looked forward to visiting the villages near Strasbourg, France in which my great-great-great-great (well, you get the drift) grandparents lived and courted. The particular great grandmother’s grave I was looking for was Marguerite…my namesake. I’d always had a deja vu romantic connection to her. I found about a dozen gravesites with the name of Marguerite, but none of them fit the time period I was looking for. Still…I was in the vicinity. I lit candles for my children in the small country church in the village of Ebenbach. I imagined that first Marguerite kneeling at the altar and praying for well-being and happiness for herself and her children. She died in childbirth.
What does all that have to do with goals? Well, the goal has always been to write a book about the fabled Marguerite LeBeau and the fated boat trip that her husband would take after her death. The children orphaned at the port of St. Louis and when the family fortune was found missing, the conventional wisdom was that it built the St. Louis Cathedral.
So I’ve been looking back at the family tragedies. After all, the family fortune turned out just to be another fantasy, sort of like the novel I’ve never written.
And the delight that would come with earning a social work degree?? As short-lived as the family fortune. Almost immediately upon being conferred the degree, demands were made by my employer to take the certification test and seek licensure. More study, more tests, more outlay of cash.
When will today be enough???