These are hardly my favorite thing to do. But the report card gave me enough reason to make this evening a priority.
For the first hour I spent 45 minutes waiting – then a ten minute interview. Then another wait. Three ten minute sessions spent with the teachers out of two hours of my time. I needed to do it but it always seems like there should be some better way to organize this.
I did take along a good book – the one by Annie Dillard that I quote from below. Sit and block out the surroundings for a few minutes, read, move along down the row of chairs till it is my turn with the teacher.
And while sitting there getting a call from an older stressed out student who panicked today during a test. The hallway noise wasn’t conducive to talk with a sobbing daughter. By the time I got home and called her back, the chaos had settled a bit and we were able to talk coherently.
Why does school have to be so stressful?
Annie Dillard in Teaching a Stone to Talk, An Expedition to the Pole, p43
God does not demand that we give up our personal dignity, that we throw in our lot with random people, that we lose ourselves and turn from all that is not him. God needs nothing, asks nothing, and demands nothing, like the stars. It is a life with God which demands these things.
Experience has taught the race that if knowledge of God is the end, then these habits of life are not the means but the condition in which the means operates. You do not have to do these things; not at all. God does not, I regret to report, give a hoot. You do not have to do these things – unless you want to know God. They work on you, not on him.
You do not have to sit outside in the dark. If, however, you want to look at the stars, you will find that darkness is necessary. But the stars neither require nor demand it.
And from page 52,
Why do we people in churches seem like cheerful, brainless tourists on a packaged tour of the absolute? …
On the whole, I do not find Christians, outside of the catacombs, sufficiently sensible of conditions. Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we so blithely invoke? Or, as I suspect, does no one believe a word of it? The churches are children playing on the floor with their chemistry sets, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning. It is madness to wear ladies’ straw hats and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews. For the sleeping god may wake someday and take offense, or the waking god may draw us out to where we can never return.
I really should have saved this one for the cruise – I am finding this one mentally stimulating. I admire the way an author like Dillard works with words, forming with them all forms of art, almost visual in the way it leaves it’s impression on me. Sometimes I find I have to go back and re-read portions as if I was moving in closer to a painting to catch some detail or moving around a sculpture to see it from yet another angle.