School started a few days ago and I wonder again, what have I gotten myself in for?
Enormous reading loads from books with names like Herodotus, A History of Knowledge, Greek Lives and Reformed Dogmatics. Multiple assignments weekly. Teachers who specify things like "don't be shallow," "I expect you to contribute; if you're shy, get over it" and "you are responsible to know everything I say in this class." Presentations 10 minutes long, 5 minutes of questioning following. Choir sessions where the right notes won't come out no matter what. Sometimes I think my head can't possibly get around half of what is expected, and I want to be completely immature and complain about these tasks; after all, there are so many things I would rather be doing than memorizing dates and practicing geometry and finding out how to put latin words into perfect passive conjunctive! Yup.
So. Why am I doing all this?
Because when I'm not groveling in my self-pitying mode, I know how much of a gift all this is. I remember that knowledge is worth the effort it takes to pursue it. I see the goals, quavering off somewhere in the future, that I am working for... I want to be able to give to someone else, all my life, and this is all in preparation for that. Because so many people have sacrificed and are sacrificing for me to learn what I am studying now.
Forget the headaches and the tears as I frustrate over assigned reading and supplemental reading and online reading and handouts and the school handbook, and hands and eyes sore from taking notes in class and penciling notes in books and typing on the computer, correcting and re-typing. Forget the less-than-satisfactory grades scrawled across the difficult test. Remember mornings in class with 40 friends with fresh notebooks and open books discussing what they have learned and expect to be asked about. Remember standing to sing or pray with the professor and the voices that have learned to harmonize. Remember the excitement of that professor as he gives to you what he so clearly loves. Remember the long-worked for nod of approval and brief "Well done" at recitation. Remember being asked to Sunday dinner, laughter at freshman creative sketches, and going to ice cream to celebrate the final math exam being over.
Whether I am able to complete my tasks perfectly, we shall see. My skeptic little brain doubts it. What is left for me is to give faithfully to this vocation. Con-fidence.