August 18th, 2014

I am back at college and my favorite thing is my antique desk.

I wanted to have a mirror on top of my desk, not really for vanity’s sake, but because I wanted to pretend that I had my desk next to a window. I had not anticipated how odd it is to look out the window – lost in thought – and see myself staring back at myself, lost in thought.

Does it seem odd to you, this autobiographical detail? I do not usually include autobiographical information on this blog. I am now, for this public journal. This is the “plebeian journal” (also known as a facebook alternative). I will do my best to keep metaphors, ideas, and thoughtful prose at bay while writing, but hey, sometimes I cannot help myself.

Introduction out of the way, let me announce that for the first time in my life I feel proud of food I have made.

I was homeschooled and our meals were also made at home. I never ate breakfast growing up. I loved lunch. Dinner was a hit or miss. My mother was unfortunately thoughtful about what she put into our bodies. Salad. Steak. Potatoes. Fish. No exception comes to mind, except for Sunday nights and date nights. On Sunday nights, we ate left-overs or popcorn. On date nights, when her and Dad went out, the older kids made popcorn or fish sticks.

The older kids made lunch for the younger kids. Macaroni and cheese was brought to the level of art. When the older kids left and I suddenly found myself as the only older kid, I made my little sister make sandwiches for me. This is true.

I am getting off track, though. My point is; I made a frittata. That is my point. And it was good. I thought of taking a picture of it in the cast iron pan, but I have no instagram.

I eat breakfast now. This is something I have been working on for the past year and a half. I never knew how good breakfast could be. Now when I wake up, I am hungry.

The first classes went well today. Choir meets in the mornings at a small church just down the street. My voice weakened over the summer.

The only other class I had today was Latin. I have done Latin for so many years and it is deeply familiar to me. Somehow, it still does not stick. There is a spot on the wall in my brain that is as slippery as ice. You know how sometimes there are spots in wood floors that are more slippery than others? When you are a kid, you put on three or four pairs of socks, and you go sliding. That is what the Latin section of my brain is like.

I had a good small conversation with an upperclassmen. We were in line upstairs to sign some papers – it was hot; why did I wear a jacket? – and we talked about faithfulness. I told her that a friend gave me advice for college. He told me, “Stay faithful where you are. Take life step-by-step. God will direct your path.” It struck me as profound coming from him. I can lose focus so easily by seeing faithfulness as a temporal activity. It has a spacial aspect to it, though, doesn’t it? We remain faithful in the space we occupy in the present. We do not stay faithful in light of the past or in hope of the future. We stay faithful as present creatures. We know what mistakes we have made in the past – what good does it do to look at our mistakes as reminders of what not to do? Our mistakes are not things to not do. Our past mistakes are pieces of our present selves. We made mistakes in the past and so we now stand in this living room, with three faces staring at us, wondering if we will ask them questions and stay our temper.

Here I am now. I am sitting at my favorite desk and I am outside sitting at my favorite desk. The outside looks like the inside. I have a small book called a “Working Diary” and a number of Chinese characters on it. It reminds me of my older brother and that I am a part of a whole, like the cogs in the Chinese communist machine. I have placed this “Working Diary” next to the mirror, because it is ironic that there are two of me. Are all evils mimicry of good? I am something like a cog, but a cog is unfit to describe the sort of role I fill. I am a brushstroke in a painting. I am a board of wood in a desk. I can be seen even by me.

2 thoughts on “August 18th, 2014

  1. Dear Caleb, I just got up and found this, your latest post; as I read it, I could hear your voice softly telling me your thoughts. Thank you for “the visit”.

    I hope I will have revived by tomorrow; my sisters and nephew were here from Sunday, the tenth, until Wednesday. Then my daughter and a friend came Friday, then left on Sunday. They were all helpful and I was so glad for their visits but I have been sapped ever since…maybe I’ll be back to my “normal” by the weekend.

    It was so good to have time with you before you left – I just regret there was no goodbye visit on Sunday. You must come and have dinner with me at GreenFields when you’re home for Christmas.

    402 is looking better every time I go by (about once a week); I know your sweet mother is anxious to get into it and the “living” mode instead of continuing to camp. She has offered to help me and, once she and I get settled, I hope to see more of her.

    Keep in touch; I so enjoy your missives. I hope this will be another wonderful year for you. With much affection and many good wishes, Jamie

    Sent from my iPad

    >

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  2. I love this so much, Caleb. It was just what I needed to hear today as I walk in circles trying to make sense of the chaos…the living between the cracks. Faithfulness where I am today. Yes, that’s the remedy. And so, I am off to find The Valley of Vision to augment my ability to see with eyes of faith . Thank you for being my mirror today. Love you.

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