I am a history girl. I go through obsessions with different historical periods, reading and studying them as much as I can (read: as much as I have time for). I have often wished for a time machine.
I used to be head-over-heels for the era of the Revolution. I loved it all - the stories, the ideals, the dresses, the heroism. Once upon a time, all I wanted was to grow up to be an indentured servant in a colonial town around the time of the Boston Tea Party. (This is, of course, before I got a little older and realized that really, the life of an indentured servant was not all that fun.) Something of that same spirit still catches me when I see red and white stripes snapping in the breeze - I start to hear the vague strains of "Yankee Doodle," and think about Deborah Samson. History is grand, I think.
But it wasn't always that way. I'm fairly certain that the people actually involved in all those massacres, all the intrigues, all the long days of tramping through the mud, weren't quite so starry-eyed about their ordeal. I'm sure they groaned, and cursed, and I wouldn't be surprised if one or two decided that taxation without representation really wasn't that
bad, after all. The bullets were real, the nights were cold, and the agony felt at a loved one's capture or death was nothing to make light of.
Today, this country is all grown up: A world power, a force to be reckoned with (and not just because you could die eating our fast food - yuck). And yet, I'm guessing that getting to this point involved some significant growing pains.
I came into this semester with high expectations for my first Rexburg summer. Everyone said it was the best time to be here (and I won't contest that - it's beautiful). I had strong hopes; it would be like last fall, only even better, because it would be sans negative temperatures.
As the weeks went on I watched as each expectation slowly dried up, like Hughes' proverbial raisin in the sun. Time went by - weeks, then months - and nothing changed. I still had (almost) no friends. No dates. Nothing. I have become, as I told someone the other day, the Amazing Invisible Woman. The summer has been full of pumpkin bread
, day after day after day. (When I went on a geology field trip Monday and it turned out that nobody had actually ordered our bus, I wasn't surprised. You see, that's been the way my whole social life has gone this semester.)
Now, the semester is (finally) almost over. Fifteen days, and I will be living it up at Education Week. Twenty days, and I will be on an airplane headed home (at last). It cannot come too soon.
And yet: I know that it's been good for me, in a non-trite, deep-and-spiritual sort of way. I am, quite literally, a different person than I was three months ago. I have learned so much in this summer of tears: Patience, faith, trust, hope, independence (while still being totally dependent on God). I have found new passions, and reconnected with old ones. I have come to take a deep, vibrant joy in just being me
, no matter what the circumstances.
Some day, when I am a force to be reckoned with, a world power (ha, ha) I will look back on this cold-mud-and-gunpowder summer and smile indulgently. "Yes, it was difficult," I'll think as I wave my little flag and watch the fireworks. "But really, all it was was growing pains."