Posts Tagged ‘school’

ten years

Ten years ago I was a high school senior, expecting just another Tuesday morning full of flute music and Spanish vocabulary words and quips exchanged in the hallway with my friends.

Ten years ago I was four days away from turning 18, and I’ve always attached significance to the fact that my country and I, in a sense, lost our innocence at the same time.

Ten years ago I found out someone had attacked my country on my way to my second-period Spanish class, and I knew – in a way I have known few things in my life – that my world would never be the same.

Ten years ago I spent my school day, and part of my evening, watching news coverage, shocked and stunned, though I realized my grief was far less than the grief of New Yorkers, or residents of Washington, D.C., or anyone who lost someone in the attacks that day.

Ten years ago I watched my teachers and school counselors, their eyes full of worry and compassion, try to grasp what had happened so they could explain it to classrooms full of teenagers, who couldn’t quite grasp it either.

Ten years ago I went to Tuesday night Bible study (because I desperately wanted to be with my friends, and to do something “normal” after such an abnormal day), and sat in a darkened room next to my friend Adam, and held his hand as the worship band sang and we both prayed.

Ten years ago I decided to go ahead and have my 18th birthday party, because life is still precious and friends are still wonderful and birthdays, however marked and shadowed by national grief, are still worth celebrating.

Ten years ago this November, I traveled to D.C. as part of a student diplomacy organization, representing the U.S. at our annual mock conference, and received a tour of the Pentagon from an Air Force brigadier general. And I stood outside, near piles of rubble and yellow Caution tape, and looked at the twinkling Christmas tree someone had put on the roof, right next to the gap where the plane had hit. And I heard that general’s deep voice urging me – urging us all – to live.

And today I light a candle, and remember.

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As I mentioned recently, my sweet husband graduates tomorrow from the program he’s given his life to been enrolled in for the last two years. He started the Marriage and Family Institute program three months after we got engaged, had a short course the week of our wedding, and logged 500+ hours in the clinic during the first year of our marriage. Not to mention writing LOTS of papers and reading LOTS of books on therapy. And much of this took place in the evening. So, as you can imagine, I’m thrilled that he’s finally going to be DONE. (What will it be like to have him home several evenings a week? We’re about to find out.)

But I know his emotions this weekend aren’t nearly as straightforward as mine. He’s relieved to be done, of course. But he’s also going to miss the 18 other people who’ve walked this path beside him – his classmates, co-therapists, fellow karaoke singers, and friends. They stood by him for a year when I was in England, and continued to support him (and one another) after I came back. They came to Abilene from a wide range of backgrounds, and they’re scattering to the four winds soon. Some are diving headfirst into Ph.D. programs; others have found therapy jobs in Abilene or elsewhere; a few, like us, still don’t know what they’re up to. For two years they’ve gone to class and attended meetings and written papers and done casework and traveled to conferences together. In short, they’ve undergone a bonding much like my beloved Oxford groups in 2004 and 2007 – so we’ve taken to calling MFI “his Oxford.”

So this post is for Adrian, Ben, Nicole, David, Stephanie, Shena, Ruqayyah, Mindy, Amanda, Rebekah, Carlos, Jeff, Ty, Mathis, Jordan, Daniel, Gretchen and Brian. Thank you all for standing beside my Jeremiah as he embarked on a whole new way of thinking and living. I am grateful to you, and wish all of you the best.

dark knight group

MFT girls

ty jer and brian

(I stole these photos from Mindy’s Facebook page – just some shots of the group having fun. My Jeremiah is the middle one in this bottom photo, taken at their favorite karaoke spot in town.)

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I get by with a little help…

…from my friends who’ve done master’s degrees.

A couple of weeks ago, I was freaking out about the fact that I’d done absolutely NO writing work on my master’s thesis, which is due at the end of August but is already looming large in my head. I’d done absolutely no reading work while Jeremiah was here (a sacrifice I’m sure he appreciated), then plunged myself deep into reading after he left. I read and read until the end of March, and then the calendar flipped to April and I thought, “I should start writing!” And when I sat down and no words came out, for several days in a row, I panicked.

I voiced my fears to Vince, who holds a master’s degree already and is currently working on a D.Phil. at Worcester College, Oxford (on the ever-so-simple topic of problems of evil), and to Jacque, who did her master’s in history at Brookes in 2003-04. They both reassured me that it would happen – the words would eventually start flowing, and while I would write lots of stuff I would trash, I would soon make a good start.

Well, they were right. I am happy to report that I’ve written well over 1000 words in the past three days. I am aware that a third to a half of it will likely get trashed, but I am so thrilled to be writing! And I think Madeleine, while she would probably be bemused that someone wanted to write a thesis on her memoirs, would be proud of me.

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I think…

I’m taking a class this semester called ‘Changing Literature,’ dealing with rewrites, adaptations and other ‘interventions’ or ‘recastings’ of texts. In the first chapter of our textbook is an exercise inviting us to play with Descartes’ famous declaration, Cogito ergo sum (I think, therefore I am), and Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s slightly later declaration, ‘I feel, therefore I am.’

There are, obviously, lots of ways to do this, but I found that some of the simplest were the most fascinating:

~Substitute another verb for ‘think.’
~Substitute another verb for ‘am.’
~Do both at once.
~Substitute another personal pronoun for ‘I.’

If desirable, insert various changes of mode, tense, etc.; prepositional phrases or anything else you like. But I think the basic text changes can be just as fun. If you come up with anything hilarious, weird or otherwise exciting, post it in the comments section. Have fun!

*Source: Rob Pope’s Textual Intervention, ch. 1

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