Friday, August 15, 2014

Kiwi bird

I finished reading Jesus the Christ yesterday and today I started reading Authoring the Old Testament:Genesis–Deuteronomy by David Bokovoy (a friend from high school's brother-in-law) and it was like a breath of fresh air. Jesus the Christ was great, but it was just so long...and erudite...and published 100 years ago. I'm only partway into chapter one of Authoring the Old Testament and already I can tell it's going to be a more enjoyable read (and not only because the footnotes and endnotes won't drive me crazy the entire time). Bokovoy wanted his book to read like a detective novel, and it's been captivating thus far. And I've already been able to relate to it quite a bit.

In fact, I was relating to it on the acknowledgements page. Seriously—I was on page xiii and already I was nodding my head in agreement while my soul simultaneously shrank at the very thought of what we're about to embark on in the coming years. This is the part that spoke to me: "In my mind, however, I wasn't convinced that now was the right time to undertake such a project [writing this book]. I had a very heavy teaching load and my family was still recovering from my dissertation."

Gah! I thought.

Graduate school is hard. I'm not even in graduate school and it's hard.

It's one o'clock in the morning and I'm authoring my third blog post for the day (night? morning?).

Why? Because my husband, who took an entire 50 minutes off to eat dinner with us and to have family scripture study before bed, is busy working away in our bedroom his office. Still.

This is not unusual for us/him.

He wakes up in the morning, puts Rachel on the bus, and goes to campus. He comes home for dinner, hides in his office until it's time for scriptures and prayer. Then he's right back to work until...whenever he decides he's finished.

When he graduated from BYU (the second time) with his master's degree (the second one), his grandma gave us a congratulatory card that she must have found in Hallmark's passive-aggressive section. She had made it quite clear that she didn't agree with our decision to further Andrew's education because we just kept furthering and furthering it and where, exactly, were we getting, hmmmmm?

However, she still wanted to be the supportive grandmother that she was by nature so she showed up with Grandpa Frank to Andrew's graduation ceremony anyway. We had an uncomfortable conversation where she asked me how long his PhD program would take to finish (a year?) and then recoiled at the answer (at least five) and handed us an envelope.

We opened it up in the privacy of our own home (technically Andrew's parent's home—but whatever because that's where we were living) and thank goodness for that because it was just so perfectly...Grandma Sharon...that we both burst out laughing.

"Intelligence without ambition is like a bird without wings," the card declared.

Tears of mirth were streaming down our faces as we recalled all the little comments Grandma had made (and Grandpa Frank, too, who told me that he once had a friend who never left college—"he just kept researching and writing and teaching the odd class here and there, never got a real job"—and I smiled as I explained in delicate terms that that, more or less, was exactly what we were planning on doing and that it's actually considered a legitimate profession) about our desire to obtain the title PhD.

Truth be told, I kind of miss getting cards from Grandma Sharon. She remembered every occasion. This particular card, however, is among the few cards from her that we kept. Perhaps we should have kept a couple of cards with a trite birthday greeting, but this card has so much more meaning. Grandma Sharon was never one to hide her opinion and I think this is a great card to remember her by because it brings up such a clear memory of her.

Although the words of that card initially stung (you know, between the peals of laughter), they remind me of the essence of Grandma Sharon—the good and the not-so-good and the everything that she was.

She was a pretty great lady.

Anyway, here we are in grad school (yes, still). My dad asked us the other day if we were finished. But we still have three years left. To do what? To write this dissertation. At a snail's pace? No, at a fairly decent clip, actually, because it's not just a dissertation. There's research to do, articles to write, conferences to attend and present at, classes to assist or teach, students to tutor...

Creating knowledge is a job that takes intelligence and ambition and a heap of perseverance.

It was at once inspiring and terrifying to read today that the craziness doesn't end after the dissertation's been submitted...

1 comment:

  1. Haha...that was really in a card? :)

    Graduate school does sound difficult and time-consuming, but at least you all enjoy each other and make good memories along the way!