I could call this wise words, strange stories, or any mix of the two. But all it is, really, is a glimpse at what life becomes when the mundane becomes more over the course of four months.
and, “like any good grad student,” one professor would say, “we always come back with more questions.”
we combine those questions with what we learn, and what we come up with is more than what we experience in the moment- it becomes what we experience in our lives.
and yes, these conversations can be odd; some are odd because they’re out of context.
some are odd to begin with, and they’ll stay that way, because cigarettes and lighters don’t come in a pack together (and parts can still be whole).
questions from the first semester
1. can people really change?
“are you sure you’ve changed?” he asked me, like every question he asks me, with a quizzical look on his face.
“a lot,” I replied, tilting my head to the right. “Haven’t you?”
“not really,” he said back to me, scrunching his face. “I never really thought about it like that.”
2. what is the impact of the invisible?
I’m in my car, driving down McGalliard to the east, and a song comes on the radio that I almost know. As the breath leaves my mouth, I see it materialize as fog in the space in front of me. The thermometer says 28 degrees.
the words hung in the air for seconds, then disappeared again.
perhaps the things that hold no physical weight, do.
The echoes hang in my mind like stalactites hang from the roof of a cave, in midair, and I think about the years that have passed, since, first loves and broken feet and loss and gain and that letter, that letter I have that reminds me that jellyfish have a protein that makes them glow and it starts with a b but I can’t remember what that protein is, and I remember I’ll never be able to talk to the writer of that letter again, but I hope he sees heaven and I think about where home is and what home means and people I like and people I love and I just think about it all, in one sentence, and it drowns me and sets me free at once. And that’s the way life is, I think: we all find ourselves in similar situations, but we don’t talk about them long enough to find the answer. You might read it and say, that’s so sad, but dear, you’ve felt the same at one time or another. And I feel for you in that. Always start with why.
things from the first semester
1. life is like an avocado, and snowflakes, and I should probably start making my decision on how many kids I have, now.
a.) “life is like an avocado. The closer you get to the middle, the better it gets, until you hit the middle, and then you have no idea what you were digging for in the first place,” my professor told me.
“I like guacamole,” I said. “Did you know that if you put the pit of an avocado in your guacamole, it’ll actually keep it from turning brown?”
“I did not know that,” he said.
b.) “so, what’s your decision?” he said.
“on how many kids I’ll have?”
“if you don’t start planning now, you’ll be like my friend. Divorced twice, and by the time he got around to his third marriage, he was too old.”
(22 must be older than I thought.)
c.) “now, let me tell you my understanding of quantum theory. Because I assume you’re not familiar with it, allow me to explain…” we walked down the sidewalk in the middle of campus.
“so, nothing happens the same way twice?” I said.
2. buoyancy is the capacity to float, even in rough water.
a.) “did you know that gravity didn’t exist until Newton discovered it?”
“that sucks.” (gravity jokes)
b.) if you put the right amount of weight with the right amount of water, you’ll float.
but you have to determine how much weight for yourself, and the material you’ll need to do it.
3. I need Jesus a lot more than I thought I did pre-grad school. And I already thought I needed Him a lot.
oh, bitter rhymes with sweet. for every moment I sought more, for every moment I gave up, they have become one in the same. I now know my weaknesses, and I have planned methods of ambush for the coming days not to fight, but to overcome.
how sweet it is to have so much, in the bitter cold of winter.
sweet day, far greater are the words I could share, the lists I could make, the stories I could tell. but I fear they’d get lost in the shuffle, and we can only hold so much at one time.
as a professor once said, “a bas le roi.” In English, “down with the king.”