Tag Archives: tough

The Final Stretch

You know it’s the last week of classes when:

– You stay up all Sunday night doing homework.

– You write four papers in under 24 hours and you still have five more to write by the middle of finals week.

– The phrase “free time” makes you laugh.  Not the “oh, that’s funny” kind of laugh, but the unsettling sort of laugh that is usually accompanied by facial tics and a desire to inflict harm upon the offending speaker.

– You actually go to sleep before midnight, sometimes even as early as 9:45 P.M., despite the fact that it’s practically still light out then.

– You immediately turn down offers to do anything even remotely resembling a social activity without so much as a second thought.  Play racquetball?  Sorry, homework.  Hold a conversation for more than a minute and a half?  Sorry, homework.  Actually leave my room and interact with people?  Sorry, homework.

– You’ve moved past counting down the days and are now counting down the hours to when you’ll finally be finished with school (that’s approximately 266 1/2 for those of you following along at home).

– You unapologetically resort to posting quick, cheap, list-form blog posts, sacrificing content for the sake of that ever-elusive holy grail known as sleep.

I hear it calling me now, in fact.  Goodnight, my friends.  I’ll see you at the finish line.


1 Comment

Filed under Older-Type Posts

Reality Check

So apparently school and homework still exist.  After two weeks on the road with the choir, it feels strange to be plunged back into the rhythms of school life.  It’s definitely going to take a little getting used to, and that might mean shorter and less interesting blog posts for a little while so that I can catch up on sleep and homework, but once I get back into the swing of things I should be back to writing more well thought-out and carefully written posts in no time.  Thanks to everyone who’s joined me on this PostADay 2011 adventure, it’s been an absolute treat to interact with some of you through comments, and to see how many of you stop by here on a regular basis has been both humbling and exciting.  It’s been a great two and a half months so far, and I’m looking forward to the next ten.  Now I’m off to read some serious church history stuff.  Stay classy, my friends.


Filed under Older-Type Posts

Journal Entry No. 10: I Get Down…

Discouragement always strikes at the worst possible time.  I’m sure he sees it as great timing, seeing as his goal is to cause chaos and mayhem and generally make people miserable, but he’s outvoted six billion to one.  Everyone’s had one of those days, weeks, or even months, and no one talks about it like it’s a vacation to Deer Park Fun Land.  We all know that discouragement is a terribly efficient opponent, and all of us (except maybe that pessimist, Murphy) wish that we could do something about it.

For me, the second week of November has been one of those weeks.  Discouragement struck earlier and it struck hard.  I have a lot of work to do this month, and it’s starting to take its toll on me.  I struggle to build and maintain good time management skills, and this week has beat me over the head with that painful truth almost to the point of numbness.  All of my resolve to do my homework, write my novel, and still have time for friends and family faded faster than a red shirt in a bucket of bleach.   As always, of course, the timing could not have been worse.  I was far enough along in the month to feel trapped, but still so far from the end that I despaired of reaching it in one piece.

Then, God stepped in with some incredible timing of His own, and my downward spiral came to a sudden and breathtaking stop.  It started at Salem Christian School, with a little group of kindergarten through second or third grade students who waited for their parents to pick them up from the after-care program.  We all sat around the six wooden lunch tables playing Connect Four or Uno or imagining wild beings with bright, blunt, and broken crayons.  One of the regulars, a little boy named Nathan, leaned over and handed me a sheet of paper.  “I drew this for you,” he explained.  “It’s you.”

The face that gazed back at me as I examined the drawing was anything but flattering.  The eyes were wide and agitated, the mouth thrown open into a face-dominating oval full of two rows of enormous rectangle teeth.  My scruffy beard was depicted in patches of black crayon covering strange and uneven portions of my face, and my hair formed two unidentifiable lumps right at the peak of my forehead.  Then there were the red lines.  The crayon-me had thin red marks on his cheeks, by his nose, even a splotch between his eyes.  His body was only a quarter the size of his head, and a third of that area was taken up by his one enormous foot.  All in all, the picture looked more like a cartoon of a boxer falling unconscious than a portrait of me.

Yet to me, those bizarre features were the most endearing.  Sometimes I felt like I could hardly remember these kid’s names, and I wondered if my coming and playing with them every week made any impression on their lives.  There before me, in unmistakable black and red, was my answer, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

I was smiling all the way home, glancing down periodically at the caricature in my hand.  I already felt better than I had in days, but that was not the end of God’s encouragement for me.  I went to check my CPO for mail after dinner that night, and in my box I found a slip of paper with a simple title: I Prayed for You.  Beneath that was a short note explaining that someone was praying for God to bless, encourage, and provide for me today, but that wasn’t what caught my attention.  What stood out to me was the shaky, deliberate handwriting at the bottom, the handwriting that read, “Herbert L. Anderson, class of 1948.”  My head reeled.  This man must be well into his nineties, a seasoned prayer warrior and servant of God, and he took the time and effort to let me know that he believed in what God is going to do with me.

In the face of the previous week’s downhearted tone came these two simple gestures of kindness, but they were more than powerful enough to eliminate all of my despair.  God reminded me that He is using my feeble, unbalanced efforts, and that He is with me providing strength to carry on.  I don’t have to try to stand alone, to balance my life in my own sickly hands.  God is in me, with me, and beyond me, and it is His strength alone that sees me through the pain of the night and shows me joy in the morning.



Filed under Older-Type Posts