Lessons Learned » April 2018

This month, in addition to learning how to conduct a simple transaction in German, I learned a lot of painfully obvious things:

1) Beer is carbonated. I’m kind of embarrassed that I didn’t know this before visiting a biergarten in Munich… (Funny story: I don’t drink, but I worked as a bartender one summer in Michigan. Spoiler: I was pretty much the worst bartender ever.)

2) Parking at the airport is easy. This past weekend I flew out to West Virginia for a friend’s wedding. Parking near the airport seemed like the easiest logistical option, only I’d never done it before. Just a few years ago, I would have been afraid to try. Not anymore! I told myself that if I’m going to be living overseas next year, I’d better be able to figure out how to park at an airport in my own country. So, I bought a reservation at Park N Jet and drove myself to the lot—easy as pie.

3) I can eat breakfast. I haven’t eaten breakfast regularly in years. Everyone in my life bugs me about it. While I was in Germany, I ate muesli and brotchen in the mornings before our daily excursions. On my return, a lecture from Robyn inspired me to take breakfast a little more seriously, so I’ve been enjoying my own version of muesli—raw oatmeal, cinnamon, pecans, chocolate chips, raw honey and milk. I set it all out in the evening so it doesn’t add any time to my morning routine—after all, I wouldn’t want breakfast to get in the way of sleep, now would I?

4) I actually like Taylor Swift. When I was little, my family did not listen to secular pop music. We listened to CCM, classical music, negro spirituals, and choral anthems, but not secular pop. It was a conscious choice, like the choice to live without a TV. My introduction to pop music came in the kitchens of the restaurants where I worked during high school. By the time I arrived at Wheaton, I was vaguely familiar with a few popular tunes that played in an endless loop during my shifts at work. My real introduction to Taylor Swift was this month in Germany. True to custom, we had a dance party—and Kate realized I don’t know the classics. She made me a playlist and I am currently rocking out to all the music I missed in middle school.

5) I love Denise Levertov. How did I graduate from Wheaton without realizing this? I don’t know. But last month in catechesis, Bethany read Denise Levertov’s poem “Annunciation.” That poem captured my imagination, so when I found it tucked away in a collection at a little used book store in Munich, I had to buy it. The collection is full of gems like this one (which describes my exact feelings every Monday morning):

The Love of Morning

It is hard sometimes to drag ourselves
back to the love of morning
after we’ve lain in the dark crying out
O God, save us from the horror. . . .

God has saved the world one more day
even with its leaden burden of human evil;
we wake to birdsong.
And if sunlight’s gossamer lifts in its net
the weight of all that is solid,
our hearts, too, are lifted,
swung like laughing infants;

but on gray mornings,
all incident—our own hunger,
the dear tasks of continuance,
the footsteps before us in the earth’s
belovéd dust, leading the way—all,
is hard to love again
for we resent a summons
that disregards our sloth, and this
calls us, calls us.

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