Posts tagged “faith


Posted on May 8, 2012

Sometime during my first year of graduate school, I sat up late one night wondering whether I had it in me to cross the finish line. I was tired. I was uncertain. I missed my usual level of contact with family and friends. I dreaded another week of 1,000+ pages of reading. I could not bear the thought of another paper that analyzed a book’s argument. I questioned why the hell I ever left Atlanta, moved to Louisiana and did this to myself and family too.

All of this over a dead Frenchman, but we’ll get to him at another time…

Across town, one of my classmates was suffering a similar bout of existential blues. That night, we exchanged inspirational You Tube videos featuring a battery of knockout punches, rah-rah speeches and the like, anything to spur each other on and remind each other that we could do it. One of the videos I sent him was the 1938 match race between Seabiscuit and War Admiral. War Admiral was a Triple Crown winner and the odds-on favorite to win. Seabiscuit was a plucky little pony from the West Coast, a horse whose never-say-die style inspired Americans during the Great Depression.

Here’s that race:

There have been times when I’ve wanted to quit, drop out, say “enough is enough,” but I’ve kept going. I had faith that down the stretch I could make it across the finish line if I just kept digging. Some people have stuck by me throughout this process and cheered me on when I’ve fallen behind. For that I am grateful. Others have proven themselves to be less understanding. And you know what? That’s okay too. The finish line is so close I can taste it and as hard as this race has been, I can be proud of what I’ve accomplished so far and excited about what lies ahead.

I still have a final and a thesis defense before me, but I’ll take everything one length at a time.

In the meantime, I’ll be inspired by I’ll Have Another, a pony with Seabiscuit’s heart (and Left Coast successes), who took speedy Bodemeister by surprise this past weekend at the Kentucky Derby:

On being an alchemist

Posted on August 3, 2011

“Deep down I suspect that many gardeners regard themselves as small-time alchemists, transforming the dross of compost (and water and sunlight) into substances of rare value and beauty and power.”

–Michael Pollan, The Botany of Desire

I started a garden because I wanted to prove to myself (and perhaps to a few unnamed others) that I was no longer a plant killer. I started a garden because I wanted to grow things that I could cook and that my family and friends could eat. There is a special sort of Zen in all of this — the digging, the weeding, the planting, the watching and waiting — and I wish I had learned it sooner.

Because I am battling the hell out of this garden right now.

I spent months and months planting every square, fertilizing them accordingly, and watering, weeding, picking and replanting them as needed.  I got tomatoes earlier than expected, fresh carrots in time for my daughter’s sixth birthday, more basil than I could handle, salsa-enlivening Serrano chiles, and cucumbers upon cucumbers upon cucumbers (I owe a post about cucumbers and it’s coming). The okra I’ve been picking? Ridiculous, especially when fried (another post to come about that).

Then the rain came.

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