Friday, October 3, 2008

Long...but possibly worth it

So, a good friend of mine from high school visited last night. Actually, he stayed two nights and hung out with us during the day on Thursday. We had sushi together on Wednesday night (he's the one who introduced me to it in the first place year ago) and had breakfast at my favorite breakfast place, Sweet Maple Cafe, on Thursday morning while the kids were in school. I was feeling pretty decadent and spoiled because how many times does a stay-at-home mom get to eat out twice in two days?!

So, the husband, the friend, and I had dinner together at home, got the kids in bed, and then opened some wine to watch the VP debate. Somewhere around 11, after the debates and the news, when good moms and dads should be in bed, we started a late-night "debate" of our own. Actually, it wasn't so debate-ish but rather a real tension or anything. But all of a sudden I realized I was not in the debate anymore. For one, I was starting to fall asleep, but for another thing, I had no idea what they were talking about. When I would wake up momentarily, I would realize that I couldn't get in on the conversation if I wanted to. "I'm going to start short-shorting the dollar" or "the yen and the juan (or some currency name like that) are so tied to the dollar that I wouldn't bother with that ..." were some of the phrases being thrown around.

Now, I know what they are talking about basically, (the economy and how to invest in this crappy economy) but even though I can follow the words to some extent, I certainly don't have anything to add. And then, with the politics, I found that the best I could do was throw out the various ideas I've gleaned from other people. I've picked up ideas here and there, and sorta come to an idea of where I come down, but it's very limited...very limited. In fact, although I normally enjoy these kinds of discussions, I realized that I couldn't add an original thought to save my life.

Then I started despairing. I felt like my woeful education was exposed. I realized yet again that school for me was figuring out how to get the "A", but often at the expense of actually understanding what I was learning. I also realized that I don't think I ever learned certain things at school, like how the government works! Didn't I take government in 8th grade? But we didn't watch "I'm just a bill on capital hill"...we colored a lot of Kansas flags though. The things I don't know are embarassing. I mean really. And I graduated from a highly respected private college and got pretty darn good grades the entire time. In fact, I'm a business/econ major but I couldn't tell you some really basic stuff. I worked for a year as an accountant after college and pre-baby, but I was making most of it up as I went along. Somehow, I ended up practically running my little area for a while's really sad when I think about it.

And this morning I woke up in a rage. I realized that there is so much I don't know about the economy or the government or about American history, or WORLD history, and I don't even know where to begin to make up for it. Where to start. I wish I could get a do-over in school and not worry about grades...just worry about understanding even a little part of what I crammed into my brain over the years. I took Economics...lots of it! I took history, but I couldn't tell you where most countries are on a map! (I know, that's technically geography, but you know what I mean...)

And then I picked up the Bible this morning and read Ezekiel for about a half hour, (and with my slow reading that gets you to about chapter 4...haha). But something struck me. God had Ezekiel, a prophet to His people while they were in exile, do all this horrible stuff to himself in order to warn His people of his coming wrath and judgment should they not repent and come back to Him. He laid on his side for over 400 days or something weird like that to symbolize the number of years that Isreal had forsaken God. He had to argue with God so that God would allow him to cook his bread over cow manure rather than human excrement! Sick!

Anyway, I thought to myself: "poor Ezekiel! That sucks!" But then something hit me. I'm not saying that I'm a prophet or anything, but I wondered if God has let me feel so un-smart and uneducated so that I can identify with the people around me and care about their position. Right now I'm working one morning in a local public school with kids who can't read. They are in about the 3rd grade and some of these kids don't know their alphabet sounds. I can see the panic in their eyes and the despair. They feel so behind that they kinda want to just forget it and "be dumb". Practicing the sounds of the vowels seems like a drop in the bucket to them and they know it's going to be so much longer before they "get it". Anyway, I kow this is not a perfect parallel between myself and Ezekiel, but I wonder if God wants to me feel a little of that despair, that panic, that inferiority to other people so that I can better relate to these kids and to how they feel. Maybe...

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