literary analysis (are you excited!!?)

Today I saw Ellen, a wonderful lady I know, in the Harris Teeter. At the end of the conversation she noted that she’d missed my blogs recently. (As, obviously, there’s been like two since 4th of July, or something.) I promised her I’d write one, so here we are.
I am always a little surprised when someone (besides my parents) says they enjoy my blog. The reason I’m surprised is actually the same reason I haven’t posted in a while. (Okay, part of the reason I haven’t posted is that I’m pretty sure my brain is turning to mush due to lack of sleep, doing the same 5 things all day long – telling Sam no, making food, cleaning up food, wiping, carrying, dressing or undressing someone) – and from hurriedly packing and unpacking everything we own before each box is devoured – literally and figuratively – by a toddler or a baby.)
But anyway, the other reason I hesitate to post is this. I feel like about 75% of what I have to say is about boring, embarassing, unoriginal same old thing: worry. Bleh. Sure the landscape changes. Sometimes Sam is wheezing. Sometimes I’m dying of something. Sometimes tornadoes, or politics, or the state of America’s youth are scary. (But feel me there. Don’t you just get the creeps visiting a playground trying to imagine how your kid is going to find an acceptable spouse? Seriously ya’ll.) Anyways, the point is, if I were an English teacher (stretch) and I were trying to decipher themes from this exqusitite work of art known as “Smartter Each Day,” there would be one main theme, and that would be worry.
And who likes to hear about worry? I’ve gotta work on some new material, for real. But that’s the thing. For REAL, being REAL, I. Just. Worry. It’s how I see life, and how God meets me. As goes the quote from my favorite book, Calm My Anxious Heart, “My life has been full of numerous misfortunes, most of which never occurred.” I laughed when I read that because it is so me! It is embarassing that I meet God not in terrors and tragedies but in imaginary troubles.

My brother-in-law Dan used to say, “teacher out for summer!” in this sarcastic sort of tone whenever I tried to release pent-up teacher energy on my family. You know, making them do projects, reprimanding people for not raising their hands…perfectly understandable things like that. Well I do guess he’s right, about the excess teacher energy thing. Like now, I miss school. Which is probably why I made a color-coded sticker chart for Sam’s daily activities, and why we visit the library every other week. And then there’s this. The other day I was thinking about my life, and analyzing it like a work of literature. You know. You have the author. (God.) The beautiful, intriguing, complex main character. (Ahem.) And then, the plot.
See it’s kind of funny. If I were asking questions to my students, trying to get them to understand the meaning behind the story, first we would examine the main character. What do we know about her? They would raise their hands and say, well, she is afraid a lot. She worries too much. She has a really good life, but always struggles to trust that God will take care of her.
But here’s where it gets interesting. What does the author (God) do with her life? One, he takes care of her, constantly. But also, he gives her Sam, a wonderful little boy with the severe food allergies. Now note. He is perfectly healthy. But he has a condition which MIGHT if he COULD POSSIBLY be exposed to certain things suffer POTENTIAL severe effects. Now the question I would ask, as literature teacher, is of course, why did God write the story that way? Why give that girl that child? In plain English, doesn’t it sound like a horrible idea to give a neurotic mom a kid who needs constant monitoring to not ingest one of the #1 ingredients in common foods? Doesn’t that sound like a recipe for disaster???

I can’t tell you how many times I have thought about this. Not so much as in complaining to God, because in a million years I would never change one single thing about Sam, and, obviously, he is a perfectly healthy little boy. But more I marvel, almost in a comical sort of way. God, why did you do it this way?

And I know the answer. Actually, I mentioned the correct answer earlier, in sarcasm. “A recipe for disaster.” Because it is disaster. My story, what little bits I can see, is perfectly, wonderfully disastrous.

I collapse.

I can’t do it.


Can I tell you that a million times a day, and at night in my prayers, I pray for protection against residual peanuts, and powdered formula, and inhaled butter fumes, and dog dander and a thousand other real or imagined threats to my wonderful life. And a million times a day I am reminded of two things. One, I do not own my wonderful life. And two, I need God. It’s perfect. It’s just what the little girl with trust issues needed to see.

So there’s our literature class for today. And something completely unoriginal to this blog AGAIN. Geez, you’d think if I really were getting “smartter” I’d be gaining ground in this worry thing, huh? 🙂 But ps. one more thing. If you haven’t read your life like a work of literature, you should. It is very insightful to think about! Why did God write YOUR life this way??? 🙂 (I know, I know, teacher out for summer!!!)


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