Again and Again

I’ve had things to write about. I just haven’t got round to it, see. So all these nice ideas were piling up in my head, threatening to form this big, old entry about things I like and things that are great and things I’m thankful for, and I thought, “Man! That’s so unoriginal. That’s been DONE.” And it has. Again and again. By me. Here and here and here and here and also here. (For example.) In fact, that’s most of this blog.

But funnily enough, in all that listing and enumerating I have yet to exhaust God’s blessings. Think of that. And I’m commanded to praise the Lord. Again and again and again. Isn’t it lovely when what you’re commanded to do and what you want to do is precisely the same thing?

So here we go, friend.

One thing:

Last week I went to a little meeting with the staff of The Quad and we had this discussion about why we read and what it means to be a good reader. And normally, that would have been just fabulous, but this time instead of participating properly, I quietly had myself a little existential crisis.

Why did I read? I knew all the right answers, about how it makes you more fully human and more fully alive and all that, but why did I, Alice, who had written multiple papers on this very topic, actually read? What were my real motivations? Was I only mimicking my parents? Did I really even like it? Was my whole life a façade?!?

So I sat in the corner and stewed and drank apple cider and did not contribute to the discussion. But then later, you know, I figured that if my life was a lie and all that, I probably would have had an inkling of it before age twenty. I’m fairly introspective (read: self-absorbed.) Also maybe, just maybe, I’m a normal person who reads for the normal reasons. Sometimes to escape, sometimes out of habit, sometimes because I have to, and sometimes that I may “know life and know it more abundantly.” So now I’m re-assured. And that’s a good thing.

Another thing:

We’ve had game night at the Edwards’ a couple times so far this semester. And it’s a little thing, but for me it’s also a big thing, (and after all this time I still don’t even really like games.) Sometime I’ll write another separate entry to tell you why, but no hurry. It’s going to be a part of my life for the next while here.

A third thing:

I have a smallish job this semester and it’s a gem. Every other week on Friday or Saturday morning I borrow my dear roommate’s car and drive to Mercer while everything is still dewy and chilly, with myself and the quiet and that one field of sunflowers by the side of the highway. And then I clean Dr. Brown’s house. This morning I did windows. Soap and rinse, time to dry and Windex. (Time to dry is my favorite part.) I’m tired at the end. I’m tired at the end because I did something. In the quiet morning, I did something.

And then I drive home, put on decent clothes, eat lunch, and go to class to read books. It feels marvelously like a double life. And I like both parts.

The next thing:

There’s something else that deserves a whole entry, which I’m hereby scheduling for late February. It’s the American Shakespeare Center at Blackfriars in Staunton, VA, or, as I like to call it, the happiest place on earth. I’m going over our break in February with Dr. Harvey and other delightful people for a one credit travel course to see four plays. There’re still spots open, so you should come too. Even if you think you don’t like Shakespeare, even if you think you don’t like anything, you will like this.

A particularly delightful thing:

One of my favorite things about this semester so far has been the friendships. Every day, I wake up shocked to discover how great it is to have friends. (God only knows why I’m surprised to find that this is blessing.) I’ve always had friends (really, I have—even in seventh grade when I specifically planned not to because I was only going to be at that school for a year and who really needs ‘em?) But this year, we’re upperclassmen, spread across campus, (or even states and countries) busy with non-intersecting things, and I seem to have entered into the wild, wonderful, and weirdly adult world of intentional friendship. The kind where you send notes and emails and say you and me tomorrow, kid.

It keeps surprising me what friendships grow and last, when I didn’t think they could. It even surprises me what friendships happen at all, and how once you get past the first layer of person there’s more of them underneath and more and more and more. C.S. Lewis wrote that “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.” It’s true, friend. And it’s kind of astounding.

The greatest thing:

Well, I suppose the best part is the again and again, the knowing of life more abundantly. Miss Jan, a dear friend from long ago used to sit at the fascinating piano in her living room that had keys and magical buttons, and sing the final verse of “Amazing Grace” this way:

“When we’ve been there ten MILLION years, bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we first begun!” (Again and again and on and on)