Burn out

This afternoon, from around quarter to two until around quarter to five, I was stuck in a room with around twenty 20-somethings discussing the pros and cons of professional/trade education vs. liberal education, the sort of education that cultivates the mind and critical thinking skills. The kind that is supposed to produce a gentleman (or woman), not in the elitist hooty-tooty, I-know-all-about-opera-for-the-sake-of-impressing-you sense of the word, but in the old-fashioned good human being sense of the word. Don’t misunderstand me when I say this, I definitely think this three hour discussion was valuable and formative in some, perhaps many ways, but I’m glad that it’s over. We’re just all so angsty, or maybe it’s just me; maybe I’m just angsty with graduation – not on the horizon, but more like around the fast-approaching corner. I don’t think I could have handled much more than three hours.

After the discussion and a short dinner with my classmates, I drove with my little sister twenty minutes down Imperial Highway to a home with a warmly painted, cozily candle-lit living room. There I was greeted by a group of much older men and women, by couples with kids that are my age, by parental figures. I was given a pure white porcelain mug filled with steaming espresso and milk. I was invited to sit. I was welcome to listen, to relax, to just be.

We chatted a bit about ‘family business’ – about where those who are usually there but weren’t there were tonight, an update on the amazing faithfulness of God to Ryan and Megs, the proud parents of twins who were born a week ago but two months early, and other news items of interest to the group. We then chatted a bit about what the home group had looked like for the past eight or nine weeks, and discussed what was good, what wasn’t, and what might work better. We listened. We learned. And in the midst of the conversation, in our listening and learning, we loved one another.

Mid-discussion my sister and I were asked what the mosaics want in a home group. I laugh even now at how very simple what I want in a home group is. All I want I had tonight – a group of men and women who’s faith in God was manifesting itself in the very peace in which we sat and enjoyed one another’s company.

Maybe it’s because they’re older; they’ve weathered more storms. They actually know that God stands with you, and sees them through with you to the end. They’ve experienced it. I mean, yes, I have also experienced His faithfulness to a degree, but only to the degree that a 22-year old can.

John Henry Newman’s “The Idea of a University” raises some good questions. Probably a bit inadvertently, our discussion today has me wondering if I’ve focused too much on being liberally educated and too little on perfecting the journalistic craft I’m going to be practicing professionally in two months time. Not knowing, all this doubting can be disconcerting at times. But what I do know is that the twins are okay. For me, this is evidence of a very good God. And for tonight, this is enough.

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2 responses to “Burn out

  1. Wow, your writing is still really, shall I say, poignant. (I didn’t spell that word right on the first try just to let you know) That is why I love old people so much. They take me out of my world for a moment and let me see it in a new way.

    What’s the big plans for after graduation?

  2. Thanks Evan. I appreciate your encouragement (I didn’t spell ‘encouragement’ right the first time; I’m always unsure of that ‘e’ in the middle…).

    And, yes, I agree, we do all need to be taken out of our world at moments…

    Plans: St. Louis. World Magazine. Three months. …and, basically, everything else is kinda up in the air and tentative.

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