Monday, November 28th was one of the worst days of my life. Actually the day itself went pretty well, only it really got bad about 7:45 PM. Prior to this, I was in a bad mood already. Xavier registration began at 6 AM that day and there were only a few students in my classes at that point. For me that meant two things. First, if the students didn't return, I was in serious jeopardy of losing my job. Part of this fear of loss was psychological. I NEED so much to be able to teach New Orleans students in January, and to try to sort out just what happened with the failure of the levies and these asshole politicians who say "If you rebuild New Orleans...". Plus part of my depression was economic. Being in academia, I am the opposite of rich. Actually, and I am embarassed to say it, but we are the beneficiaries of foodstamps right now. So losing my job would make me even more depressed. I'm sort of stuck in this mindset of dad=provider, and the idea of foodstamps or any sort of aid like that threatens my sense of being a caretaker for my family. Second, low enrollments mean that Xavier might not be able to rehire two of my favorite people in the world. They are my colleagues, and two of the best theologians and teachers I've ever met. They have both accused me of being sappy in the past, but I sincerely love them both, and pray so hard that we can be together in the future.
Then at 7:45 PM I wanted to talk to Therese about our plans for New Orleans in January. She told me that she wasn't sure yet if she and the children would live in New Orleans. She said she would decide that when we two went down to do some work in New Orleans on December 10th. That really upset me. I wish she could have said "I understand that you have to be in New Orleans in January, and we'll find a way to all be in New Orleans together." I felt like my children were being taken away from me, and that my opinion didn't matter. It will no doubt be difficult to live in New Orleans, especially if it means living in our house with no electricity and gas for a month or two (or possibly longer), but I felt like the convenience of a functioning washing machine trumped the importance of my role as a father to my children. Of course Therese's argument and mine were much more complicated than this, but in the end I was furious and I actually left the house. Usually I don't get upset, as I'm like Spock. But I really need my family right now, and I think it is important that all of us be in New Orleans in January. Therese and I were still feuding this morning, but things are slightly better now. I think New Orleans would benefit so much by having my kids and Therese there in January. I also think they would benefit as well. That city is so important, and it really needs quality people.
Then late today I was checking out my class enrollment for January. Three out of four of my classes were full. I also read that nearly 2/3 of Xavier students have signed up to return. I've chatted with several of them online and while they are frustrated for a variety of reasons, I think that January of 2006 at Xavier will be the most important semester this country has seen in the past 100 years.