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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Be Careful What You Wish

It’s tag-along Tuesday, and I am seriously anticipating the day. I’ll be learning more about the subtle nuances of Hebrew, challenged by the Gospels and delving into the personal applications presented in a study of spiritual formation. The discussion of the material will stretch throughout the day, beginning with series of text messages arriving over a several hour period. A really satisfying Tuesday concludes with a conversation during which I can ask questions and seek clarification.

I am living vicariously through a CIU seminary student who is hundreds of miles away. This is second-hand, virtual education at its finest!

I wish I were studying Hebrew personally instead of licking up the crumbs under the table of my daughter’s learning. I’m sure I would be captivated by the study of the Gospels, no matter how much reading was involved. I don’t mean to brag, but it is likely I could ace spiritual formation simply because I have read most, but not all, of the books on the syllabus.

I have taken to using her insulated to-go cup to transport my morning beverage. It makes me feel more like I am living her life. (For the record, I was once just as excited about my own graduate studies as I now am about hers.) This is beginning to sound like coveting. Maybe she and I need to check the full meaning of that word in its original text.

But as I envy the opportunities she is having, I only covet the high points of her life and education. While I would enjoy the early morning trek through the woods to get to campus, I wouldn't want the long hours in a lonely library—weekends included. I just don’t know how many more scholarly papers I have left in me. I hate tests. I certainly can’t devote a minimum of thirty minutes a day, year round, even on holidays, to learning Hebrew vocabulary. I doubt seriously if I could withstand the turmoil that has often slammed her facedown this semester as God has revealed more of himself to her.

Therein lies the conundrum. It’s easy to envy the delightful parts of another’s life but harder to count the cost. If we understood and embraced the full story of another’s life, we would protect ourselves from needless jealousy.

So here on Tag-Along-Tuesday, I remind myself, “Be careful what you wish.”