Of late, I have been asked a question about which I did not, until recently, have a definitive answer, nor did I feel I was at liberty to discuss the matter. I now have an answer.
Never say never.
As many of you know, we just bought a car. As we were walking around the lot looking at various available vehicles, the gentleman helping us asked if we'd consider a minivan. I laughed. He said he'd recently been driving around, and he saw a minivan with a sticker on it that read, "Never say never."
Since almost the moment Reagan was born, I've composed lists in my head of what I'd do with ample sleep and time. Then I had Henry. Then Reagan was diagnosed with diabetes. Life continued to move. Last year, due to the global pandemic, I found myself with ample time to sleep in and ample time to roam around my house doing all those things you think you'll do when the time presents itself.
What I did with all my time at home was, pathetically, watch reruns of The Office, scroll my phone to soak up all the sad, depressing news, and lament the time I lost in the classroom with my public speaking students who truly needed to deliver speeches to a live audience. I didn't even get any reading of significance done. I found myself rereading novels I love because it was comforting. There's nothing wrong with rereading novels, but you think when you have the time you will read War and Peace, and then when the time presents itself that doesn't necessarily happen.
As the last year unfolded, something became clear to me in increments. I realized anew the truth of what my father has always taught me: People need structure. I realized anew that I dislike and distrust the government, and I contemplated the fact that the government was, at that time, my employer.
I wrote this (click here) on March 3 of this year. I said this:
I believe we are designed by our Creator to desire freedom. First and foremost, freedom in Christ, which is freedom from our sins and, eventually, freedom from death and our aging, mortal bodies.I believe we are designed to desire freedom from tyranny.Finally, I believe we are designed to seek freedom from reality at times, as reality can be harsh, and thus we turn to art, to music, or, most often in my case, to books.That's the sum of my adult life, of all that I write, of most of the conversations I have both in person and online. That's the sum, to the extent that I can say anything succinctly, of what I want to teach my kids:- - > Love and fear God, and let His directives guide you in your dealings with people because people are hard to love, even, at times, the ones you really, really love.- - > Pray for but remain deeply suspicious of government, all government, even the guy you think is great and for whom you voted. The nature of government is to grow and seek more and more power. This is an unchanging truth. Never forget it.- - > Read books. Read all sorts of books. Lose yourself in books, especially when the pressures and heartaches of reality are weighing on you heavily.Live your life every day in such a way that you encourage others to seek these same freedoms for themselves.
I was drinking coffee out of my "Team Oxford Comma" mug one morning, and I stopped and looked at it and thought, "Anna, what are you doing?" Or rather, I thought about what I was not doing, namely teaching English.
Long story long, I will be teaching high school English again in the fall. I am excited. My employer will no longer be the government. I am excited to return to British literature and the messy, fascinating ways it is interwoven with British history and the history of the development of the English language. I am excited to again be employed by people who encourage me to teach and interpret literature via the lens of the existence of Creator God who formed us and loves us and gave us the desire to write and read literature in our perpetual attempt to better understand the complicated, beautiful, messy state of things here on earth where we toil until He returns for us. And yes, I am excited to share with young people the joy of using a properly placed semicolon.
Also worth noting: my kids are excited I will again be their ride to school since their daddy forces them to listen to his podcasts in the mornings.
I've had a lot of time to myself. I've enjoyed many cups of coffee in the solitude of my quiet home. I've been handed the time I aways thought I would use so wisely, and my sad misuse of that time was a fascinating wake-up call. I do love coffee, and I do crave solitude, but you can only marinate in both so long before God nudges you and gently suggests you could do more for Him.
Like Claire Fraser, I will return to my past and my true love having once assumed that to never be a possibility. Don't hate me.