A Short Story

Once upon a time there was a girl. She waited years and years to go to college, and found out that she loved what she did while she waited. She got a little older with wonderful people who loved her better than she loved them back and who she knew she’d miss terribly once she left. But she packed her things and her favorite bear and went away to college with a few white hairs and too many suitcases. She wondered if she would regret what she was leaving behind: the sky and the stars and books and Interstate and Friday morning meetings and children who hugged her in church and a little office that let the sun in every afternoon.

But the people who loved her gave her coffee and a computer and never stopped praying for her. And she came to the city, where there were too many buildings to see the sun and more lights than stars. There were yellow taxis and cardboard signs and a few trees that barely had enough leaves to shed in the fall.

She sat down in a tiny little dorm room and realized that she’d still be waiting here, too. So she sat in big classrooms and little classrooms and found out that she loved what she did while she waited. She got a little older with wonderful people who cared for her better than she could care for them.

And the city was kind to her. The city gave her bright yellow doors and clean stone houses and a place to run by the lake. The city gave her its best views and its biggest Christmas trees. It gave her trains that rocked and rumbled and spilled out its passengers into all its corners. It gave her a church with small children who hugged her every Wednesday night and whispered in her ear about birthdays and secrets. The city gave her memories on dirty escalators and worn stairs and scary streets.

And she wondered, with small guilt, if she loved her former sky a little less because the one she loved now had skyscrapers and billboards and broken windows instead of forests and fields. She wondered if she would be happy back in the place with quietness and books and the sun in the afternoon.

But she couldn’t love the city any less, with its tarnished beauty and need for kindness. So she decided she would have to love both. She decided that the love in the waiting was a gift, a gift that could only be corrupted by the mistaken need to compare it to something she could love no less. So she loved her city where she could only sometimes see the sun, and she loved her country where the sun was brightest. And she recognized God’s love best when she chose to love what He gave her.

And she was happy.

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Letters from an MBI Student – 12/10

Aaaannndd, that’s a wrap.

Dear Family…I JUST HAD MY LAST REGULAR CLASS AT MOODY FOR THE FALL OF 2015!!!

That’s actually less exciting than it seems. It basically means that now I have to study like mad for finals because they’re happening next week. I only have four finals and two papers due, so it’s actually really easy.

Ahaha, who am I kidding? It’s insane. I’m going to go crazy. Saturday I’m helping a classmate with her philosophy homework, studying for a final with the only other homeschooler in my education class, and meeting another student for coffee to catch up on our incommunicado-ness over the course of this semester before going to the last iNfoRmaL presentation. Wut.

Oh, I’m also writing two six-page papers, finishing my Spanish homework, rewriting my Christian Missions notes, memorizing Spanish vocabulary, reviewing my Studying and Teaching the Bible lesson plans, and drinking several pots of coffee. And doing laundry, washing dishes, making an egg bake, and sleeping for 24 hours. I wish that last one were true.

I also have eight library books that I really want to read, and a coffee date, and things to write and places to see and an ice skating rink I still haven’t gone to and tickets to a Christmas concert and…

Welcome to finals week at Christmas, where everything you want to do is probably nothing you need to do.

See you soon, if I don’t drown in coffee or implode from an overstuffed brain first,

~Rae

The Little Prince: Chapter 21

It was then that the fox appeared.

“Good morning,” said the fox.

“Good morning,” the little prince responded politely, although when he turned around he saw nothing.

“I am right here,” the voice said, “under the apple tree.”

Fox

“Who are you?” asked the little prince, and added, “You are very pretty to look at.”

“I am a fox,” the fox said.

“Come and play with me,” proposed the little prince. “I am so unhappy.”

“I cannot play with you,” the fox said. “I am not tamed.”

“Ah! Please excuse me,” said the little prince.

But, after some thought, he added:

“What does that mean–‘tame’?”

“You do not live here,” said the fox. “What is it that you are looking for?”

“I am looking for men,” said the little prince. “What does that mean–‘tame’?”

“Men,” said the fox. “They have guns, and they hunt. It is very disturbing. They also raise chickens. These are their only interests. Are you looking for chickens?”

“No,” said the little prince. “I am looking for friends. What does that mean–‘tame’?”

“It is an act too often neglected,” said the fox. “It means to establish ties.”

“‘To establish ties’?”

“Just that,” said the fox. “To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you, I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world . . .”

“I am beginning to understand,” said the little prince. “There is a flower . . . I think that she has tamed me . . .”

“It is possible,” said the fox. “On the Earth one sees all sorts of things.”

“Oh, but this is not on the Earth!” said the little prince.

The fox seemed perplexed, and very curious.

“On another planet?”

“Yes.”

“Are there hunters on that planet?”

“No.”

“Ah, that is interesting! Are there chickens?”

“No.”

“Nothing is perfect,” sighed the fox.

But he came back to his idea.

“My life is very monotonous,” the fox said. “I hunt chickens; men hunt me. All the chickens are just alike, and all the men are just alike. And, in consequence, I am a little bored. But if you tame me, it will be as if the sun came to shine on my life. I shall know the sound of a step that will be different from all the others. Other steps send me hurrying back underneath the ground. Yours will call me, like music, out of my burrow. And then look: you see the grain-fields down yonder? I do not eat bread. Wheat is of no use to me. The wheat fields have nothing to say to me. And that is sad. But you have hair that is the color of gold. Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me! The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you. And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat . . .”

The fox gazed at the little prince, for a long time.

“Please–tame me!” he said.

“I want to, very much,” the little prince replied. “But I have not much time. I have friends to discover, and a great many things to understand.”

“One only understands the things that one tames,” said the fox. “Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy things all ready made at the shops. But there is no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship, and so men have no friends any more. If you want a friend, tame me . . .”

“What must I do, to tame you?” asked the little prince.

“You must be very patient,” replied the fox. “First you will sit down at a little distance from me–like that–in the grass. I shall look at you out of the corner of my eye, and you will say nothing. Words are the source of misunderstandings. But you will sit a little closer to me, every day . . .”

The next day the little prince came back.

“It would have been better to come back at the same hour,” said the fox. “If, for example, you come at four o’clock in the afternoon, then at three o’clock I shall begin to be happy. I shall feel happier and happier as the hour advances. At four o’clock, I shall already be worrying and jumping about. I shall show you how happy I am! But if you come at just any time, I shall never know at what hour my heart is to be ready to greet you . . . One must observe the proper rites . . .”

“What is a rite?” asked the little prince.

“Those also are actions too often neglected,” said the fox. “They are what make one day different from other days, one hour from other hours. There is a rite, for example, among my hunters. Every Thursday they dance with the village girls. So Thursday is a wonderful day for me! I can take a walk as far as the vineyards. But if the hunters danced at just any time, every day would be like every other day, and I should never have any vacation at all.”

So the little prince tamed the fox. And when the hour of his departure drew near–

“Ah,” said the fox, “I shall cry.”

“It is your own fault,” said the little prince. “I never wished you any sort of harm; but you wanted me to tame you . . .”

“Yes, that is so,” said the fox.

“But now you are going to cry!” said the little prince.

“Yes, that is so,” said the fox.

“Then it has done you no good at all!”

“It has done me good,” said the fox, “because of the color of the wheat fields.” And then he added:

“Go and look again at the roses. You will understand now that yours is unique in all the world. Then come back to say goodbye to me, and I will make you a present of a secret.”

The little prince went away, to look again at the roses.

“You are not at all like my rose,” he said. “As yet you are nothing. No one has tamed you, and you have tamed no one. You are like my fox when I first knew him. He was only a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But I have made him my friend, and now he is unique in all the world.”

And the roses were very much embarassed.

“You are beautiful, but you are empty,” he went on. “One could not die for you. To be sure, an ordinary passerby would think that my rose looked just like you–the rose that belongs to me. But in herself alone she is more important than all the hundreds of you other roses: because it is she that I have watered; because it is she that I have put under the glass globe; because it is she that I have sheltered behind the screen; because it is for her that I have killed the caterpillars (except the two or three that we saved to become butterflies); because it is she that I have listened to, when she grumbled, or boasted, or ever sometimes when she said nothing. Because she is my rose.”

And he went back to meet the fox.

“Goodbye,” he said.

“Goodbye,” said the fox. “And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

“What is essential is invisible to the eye,” the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.

“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”

“It is the time I have wasted for my rose–” said the little prince, so that he would be sure to remember.

“Men have forgotten this truth,” said the fox. “But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose . . .”

“I am responsible for my rose,” the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.

Letters From An MBI Student – 11/30

Dear Family,

Thanks for letting me come home for Thanksgiving. I would have hitchhiked my way, but it was nice to see someone actually show up at the train station before I fell asleep with my luggage.

Home felt pretty good this time around, and I think I figured out some of the things that make it feel like home. That’s such a strange word for me, and I’m still figuring out what that word is hard for me to use, but I don’t have a better substitute. So here are some things I realized about the place I call home. Warning: it’s about to get sappy. It’s Christmas and it snowed today and…ahh, strings of lights or not, it was always going to be sappy. So.

Home is where you plop down on the kitchen floor and laugh because you’re too tired to stand or think or do anything other than be some sort of emotional. And because it’s home, you don’t wake up the next day and wonder how laughing hysterically has affected your reputation.

Home is also where you can chase people around trying to be affectionate to them and they may not want it and you don’t care if they do or not. You’re not doing it because you met that person on your dorm floor who likes hugs and you feel like you should probably encourage them; you’re doing it because it’s family and you’re so darn glad to see them. And it’s your sister, whom you haven’t seen in an eternity and your brain doesn’t have interesting words to tell her how much you love her so you kiss her instead. Or try to.

Home is where you fall asleep in total silence. It’s where you realize for the first time why people use white noise machines, and you feel so sorry for them and their lives of perpetual noise.

Home is where you can see the stars instead of stoplights. There aren’t crosswalks to watch for and pedestrians to avoid running over. The only red lights at home are the ones on your car when you pull into the driveway too fast. And you don’t care that the neighbors will probably have an opinion on that at the Christmas party, because you’ve done it a thousand times before and this time you’re not in a hurry because you have stuff to do; you’re in a hurry because inside is home and family and more interesting things than speed limits.

Home is where you yell at the dinner table and throw peas and eat an entire pie yourself. It’s where the world’s best food is made with more love than that house can hold. Home is where you wake up feeling guilty for sleeping in so late but your mom made you coffee and the day begins with a little sip of heaven.

Home is where you sit and crochet and don’t fidget about the homework that you brought back because home means rest and peace. Home doesn’t give peace, but it creates the space for it. And then God and the love of family fills it and you take it back to school and find the energy to power through the last three weeks of school.

I’ll probably not be as retrospective about home as soon as I leave my cozy place beside this Christmas tree. I’ll probably not be as gracious when I tell you about Candlelight Carols rehearsals. I’ll probably not be as enthusiastic about home as soon as I start writing that paper I’m avoiding.

Oh, well. At least you know for now.

Maybe missing you,

~Rae