Joy in Learning


Give me the first page of your short story on Friday. Thirteen photos due on Tuesday. Bring a rough draft to class tomorrow. Summaries of every chapter by Thursday at midnight.

This final semester of college is pushing me. I’m trying to make decisions about grad school while keeping up with the assignments unceasingly tossed my way. Most nights, I have barely enough hours to finish the required reading and writing and approximately zero hours to actually process the content I’ve just ingested.

Write. Edit. Revise. Compose. Save. Print. Create on demand.

We talked briefly about the joy of learning in my Writing Theory and Grammar class. I do believe the process of learning should be a joyous one, but it’s hard to feel that joy when I hardly have enough time to finish the work that piles up each day. The education system (even at my private liberal arts university) seems like it’s actively trying to kill any enjoyment I may have for the learning process. Professors pile on work so thick then berate us for being sick or not taking advantage of the programming offered on campus.

Eat. Sleep. Be vulnerable. Get up for church on Sunday. Have quiet time. What is God saying to you these days? What are your plans for after graduation? Stay in shape. Stay healthy.

Lately, I spend my evenings trying to finish assignments as fast as possible so I can get enough sleep to do it all again the next day. This is not how I want to spend my last semester of college—just holding my nose above water. I want to flourish and be creative. I want to revel in the richness of the subjects I am studying; I want to let their implications sink into my bones and shift my course. I want to relish these precious moments with my friends and classmates as they may be some of the last we have together in this community.

To make this a reality, I have to say no sometimes—to conferences and trips to Kentucky and Alabama, to perfect grades on every assignment in favor of going to sleep an hour earlier or lingering over dinner with a friend for a few extra minutes or being gracious instead of grumpy when someone interrupts my scheduled reading time. It takes time to learn these slower rhythms of restraint.

The other week, I was asked to reflect on the Lord’s Prayer and identify which part is difficult for me in this season, which line my heart catches on and cannot quite get past.

Give us this day our daily bread.

Yes. I forget this, but I need desperately to believe and practice that there is sustenance enough for today. No less: I need not live out of a place of want or scarcity. The provision of the Lord is abundant. No more: I will not be overwhelmed.

These words are a small prayer circling in the back of my mind lately. Reminding me that today has enough hours, that I will find the energy, and that grace is here to fill in the gaps I leave behind.

Resting, saying no, letting go, sitting still…this seems to be a topic I can’t stop writing about. What is a theme that you keep coming back to?


2 thoughts on “Joy in Learning

  1. My dear, dear Em….your thoughts and words are so profound….all I can say is…..I believe totally that God is within you….you identify your emotions and still have hope and faith….yea, do not fear for you are not alone. Love you….Gram

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