Archive for March, 2008

That’s My Boy!

Sunday, March 30th, 2008

My son told me a story the other night that makes me smile with fondness and pride.

First, you have to realize his background.  He went to high school at an American school in Germany.  The ONE class that really took advantage of their being in Europe was AP Art History.  The class had a fabulous teacher, Kathleen Hellmann, who really taught the material well, and she took the class on a trip to Florence so they could really see some of the work they were discussing.

This teacher spent a good solid four hours discussing the Mona Lisa.  It was huge in the world of art and affected art tremendously.  She told the students that they would certainly be asked, “So why is the Mona Lisa important?” and she made sure they would be able to answer that question, at length.

Fast forward to this past month.  Josh is in college, at a school that will remain nameless for this post.  They do not give AP credit, and did not let him test out of Art History, since it is supposedly a class in his major (Film).  This particular month is Josh’s turn to take Art History.  It only lasts four weeks, but for quite a few hours each day.

Josh was already frustrated with the class.  The teacher is focusing on things like which saints are pictured in which paintings, rather than the actual history of art.

He was already frustrated that they didn’t cover some of his favorite artists.  He told me, “Mom, they didn’t even cover Rafael!  Rafael was a Ninja Turtle!  He was the coolest Ninja Turtle!”  (Sure enough, it brought me right back to when Josh was 3 years old and his favorite character to pretend to be was Rafael….  But I digress.)

Then they came to the Mona Lisa.  The teacher talked about issues like who might have been the model, and was ready to move on.  A student raised his hand and asked, “I don’t get it.  Why is the Mona Lisa so famous?  What’s the big deal about it?”

The teacher didn’t really answer the question.  She even said something along the lines of “maybe it’s a mystery.”  Josh couldn’t contain himself any longer.

He raised his hand.  When the teacher called on him, he stood up.  Then he addressed the class, beginning with the words, “Here’s why the Mona Lisa is important:”

He talked for fifteen minutes.  Knowing my son, I bet he was clear, detailed, dramatic, and passionate. 

When he sat down, he was shaking.  The classroom burst into applause.  Lengthy applause.

A sad note:  He heard someone ask behind him, “Should we be writing this down?”

Now, as a Mom, part of me isn’t quite sure I should approve of this incident.  He can’t really have won the heart of his teacher!  But knowing what a wonderful teacher Ms. Hellmann was, knowing how well she taught Josh Art History, and knowing that Josh had been containing his frustration like a model student for the rest of the time — I’m giving in to my stronger impulse, which is to be proud of him!  Way to go, Josh!

He has two weeks of class left to go.  I hope he can stick it out!  Meanwhile, it’s making him really appreciate Ms. Hellmann for the awesome teacher she was!

And I’m really appreciating what an awesome son I have!

The Lord’s Purpose

Friday, March 28th, 2008

Jeremiah 29:11 is a famous and wonderful and comforting verse about God’s plans for us being good.

I also like the verse I was on in my Quiet Time this morning, Psalm 138:8:

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;

your love, O Lord, endures forever —

do not abandon the works of your hands.

In my mind it also ties in with my last post.  Librarianship is something I feel called to — which ties in to the Lord’s purposes for making me.  I suspect that He made me to, among other things, find great joy out of connecting people and books.

I don’t know what He’s doing in my marriage.

But what a wonderful affirmation that He WILL fulfill His purpose in my life.

And His love endures forever.

And He will never abandon me.

May I find delight in becoming the person God created me to be!

Librarianship as a Calling

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

Having finished Our Singular Strengths:  Meditations for Librarians, by Michael Gorman, today I’ve begun reading Our Own Selves:  More Meditations for Librarians, by the same author.

In the first meditation, he quotes from a book written in 1966 by Lawrence Clark Powell.  Gorman says:

In it, he summons up a vision of a library as a place formed by “good hands” that have made it orderly and efficient; by “good heads” that have not only shaped collections by intelligent choice but have also absorbed a good part of the knowledge contained in those collections; and “good hearts” that exercise service in humility — motivated by a love of people and learning….

Libraries are about service or they are about nothing.

That got me thinking about why I’m excited about being a librarian.

Today, I had several opportunities to help people find information, quite a few of which were Moms with kids.  That’s one thing I thoroughly enjoy doing.

I love books.  I love learning.  I love connecting people and books.  And I like helping people.

That’s why becoming a librarian isn’t just about finding a job to support myself.  It’s about finding a calling.

May I remember that!

Joy

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

Today I finished reading Before Green Gables, by Budge Wilson, a prequel to Anne of Green Gables.  I thought it would be depressing — Anne’s childhood was hard — but it showed how Anne found transcendent moments, even as a child, even with a hard life.

I thought of the Proverb, “Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.”

I’d like to be like Anne — thoroughly enjoying things worth enjoying, without apology.

I thought about my many travels with Steve.  We’ve been all over the world.  From the start, I “collected” castles, and just loved to roam over castles and take pictures.

I think a lot of the time, especially in the beginning, Steve thoroughly enjoyed the trips with me.

But toward the end, especially after he had already decided the marriage was over, he went through the motions, but his heart wasn’t in it at all.  (You can actually see this in the pictures over the years.)

It’s hard to take joy in something when someone you love is there in body, but not at all entering into the experience.

It’s wonderful to share a transcendent experience with someone.  My last trip to Paris with the Sisters of Royaumont was a glorious example.

But it’s also freeing to not have to worry about being with people who aren’t having a good time.  To just have responsibility for yourself, and be able to thoroughly enjoy something.  A painting of a forest in France.  A blooming branch.  A field of daffodils.  A twisted tree limb.  A brisk breeze.

My life has many joyful moments.  One nice thing about living as a single person is the chance to thoroughly enjoy God’s blessings, without apology.

Yes, it was yet more wonderful when my husband was enjoying life with me, for example, treasuring our arrival in Europe.  But now I don’t have to feel bad if he is not sharing my joy.  I’m sorry for it.  I still pray for him daily — particularly that he will find Joy and know God’s great love — but how do I express this freeing sensation?  I am realizing that I am not responsible, in any way whatsoever, for his happiness or his choices.

And I am free to choose Joy.

Guidance

Sunday, March 2nd, 2008

I am amazed by how, when we ask for wisdom, “God gives generously to all without finding fault.”

I had been again wondering if God was really telling me what I thought He was telling me.

Is God really telling me He will restore and renew my marriage?  What about my husband and his free will?  If he really wants out and is truly divorcing me, then shouldn’t I move on and look for a better relationship?  Aren’t I hoping for the impossible?  Living in denial?  Being unrealistic?

Yet God seems to be telling me that He is going to restore and rebuild our marriage, and that my husband will end up a leader and a witness and a man of God — NOT because of anything I do, but totally God’s work.  My job is to pray for it, wait for it, and believe that God will do what He has promised.  To “move on” by working on becoming a great children’s librarian and mother and writer, not by trying to find a new man for my life.

But there are times when it doesn’t seem possible.  I get some insights about what went wrong in our marriage, and then I get discouraged.  How can we possibly ever have a healthy relationship together, after all our mistakes in the past?

So I asked God again, “Lord, if You can really transform and rebuild our marriage, if You can really make Steve a leader and a witness and a man of God, if You can really make me a good wife for him — then I need confirmation again.  Just a reminder that I’m on the right track.  I need to know that I’m not just denying reality and going with false hopes after something that’s dead.”

And God answered.  Today’s sermon was all about transformation.  The opening and closing illustration was even about a marriage that was dead that God transformed.

Without going into details, God specifically answered what I was asking.

God CAN restore and heal — both our marriage, and our lives.

I believe that God is telling me that He WILL restore and heal.

But I also know that this is GOD’s work to do, not mine.  Time for me to think about it a lot less and focus on being the woman God created me to be.  God gave me many passions that I didn’t have as much time for when I was trying to be a good wife.  It’s time to take advantage of this opportunity!

I’ve been a children’s librarian for two full weeks now:  I want to be a good one!

And this is also my chance to write.  I have ALWAYS dreamed of being a published author.  I didn’t do any writing while my marriage was in such crisis, or while I was taking graduate classes.  Now it’s time to start up again.

And it’s my chance to write for Sonderbooks.  I have so enjoyed sharing books with people! 

And my blogs.  I like this way to connect with people.  I put my thoughts out there, and usually only those who are interested read it.  I connect with people in surprising ways.

I haven’t been writing so much in this blog lately–I’d like to do more of that.  I’m having fun with my other two.  Sonderquotes is the one I update most–I’m reading some great books!  And Sonderblessings is just to remind myself how MUCH I have to be thankful for.

So–even though this started with maybe too much thinking and worrying about my marriage, God has left me with a great sense of peace.  Some day, somehow He will restore our marriage.  It will be His work, not mine.  And it will happen in His timing, not mine.  Meanwhile, this is my chance to live a joyful life with God, striving to be the person He created me to be.

And He will be enough for me, reassuring me of His love, and His forgiveness.

God is good.  And God cares about my life.

He is not above giving reassurance.  And that’s reason to rejoice!