The Longest Day


Good late evening (almost midnight),

It has been a very long day. I left the house this morning at 7:00 a.m. and I got home about 11:25. I have taken a shower and now, to try to make sure I am putting in my “blogging time”, I am posting. This evening both sections of my Foundations of College Writing classes meet at 8:30 and we watched Robert Redford’s amazing version of the Norman Maclean’s novella, A River Runs Through It. I am not certainly how many times I have watched that movie now, but it has to be in the 20s or maybe 30s. Somehow this evening I was reminded of the very first time I watched it. I was flying to Miami during Spring Break of 1993, the first year I taught at Suomi College (now Finlandia University) to go on a 4 Day Cruise in the Bahamas. It was the first, and only, cruise I had, or have, ever taken.

More than the cruise, I remember we were reading the novella from Timo Koskinen’s class. I remember writing the final for that class and thinking about when the father was sitting in the woods with his Bible instead  of fishing; that scene along with the lines in the movie about words and I am reminded of the prologue to the Gospel of John: In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. I actually find it more comforting in Greek than English, but WordPress will not let me write it in the Greek script. However, I remember writing it in Timo’s final in Greek and talking about the importance of the word.

It is amazing what we do with words and what words can do. And yet, we have become so cavalier with them. We do not take the time to think of their power nor their importance. As my students work on their memoirs, the words they write and what they offer to their future children will create pictures and connections, stories and identity, reflections and understandings, both for themselves as they write, but also for that future audience, their children.

I was asked by a friend last week if I was every sorry I did not have children. I think that was more likely the case when I was in my thirties and forties, now, it is not really something I consider. I guess I feel like I reach out to enough people to be a surrogate parent that I have fulfilled that need. I am not really sure how much the need was really there. I have to think and ponder that a bit. What I do know is that when I see a family (and I know there are no perfect families) where there seems to be a strong center or nucleus and everyone has value (even if they do not always realize it), I feel the twinge of remorse, wishing I might have experienced that. Then again, I think my propensity to be alone would make having a family with kids and grand-kids something that I might find taxing.

I guess I am not sure and perhaps I do not need to figure it out, particularly now when I am tired and rather fuzzy as far as clear thinking (only because I am tired before you come to some other conclusion). It has been one of the longest days I have had in a long time, but as I look at what is on my plate over the next few days, the next few weeks, the next few months, it is highly probable that I will have some more days like this. Again, in my 20s-40s I seemed much more capable of doing those hours without feeling like I just got drop-kicked so something. It is that business that also keeps me from getting involved with other things. In fact, I believe I need to pull back from somethings even now if I am going to manage. I guess it gets back to the idea of focus and priorities.

I think I will ponder those things some more. In the meanwhile, in less than 8 hours I will be back in class.

So it is  . . . . the longest day. Thanks for reading.

Dr. Martin


Published by thewritingprofessor55

As I move toward the end of a teaching career in the academy, I find myself questioning the value and worth of so many things in our changing world. My blog is the place I am able to ponder, question, and share my thoughts about a variety of topics. It is the place I make sense of our sometimes senseless world. I believe in a caring and compassionate creator, but struggle to know how to be faithful to the same. I hope you find what is shared here something that might resonate with you and give you hope.

One thought on “The Longest Day

  1. Dr. Martin,

    As the night owl that I am, I tend to be more productive later in the day than in the morning, so I’ve managed to catch up on some of the blogs at this hour. A few movies I’ve seen dozens of times are The Godfather Part II, The Prince of Egypt, X-Men, X2 (the first movies in that franchise are fantastic, narratively), and probably The Lord of the Rings (all three). I think what makes these films stand out are the characters. Michael Corleone, Moses, Logan, Aragorn…all characters who are introspective, complex, and dynamic in their own respective ways.

    Today, I heard someone recite that exact passage from John in class, unfortunately to be more derisive than appreciative. I agree that it sounds beautiful in Greek. I find that the Aaronic Blessing in Hebrew is so much more powerful than it is in English. I can’t help but think of it as a sort of proto-Lord’s Prayer, reflecting how ideas like Grace, Blessing, and Holiness worked in the OT. In the same way, the Lord’s Prayer reflects how those ideas are parallel, but made new.

    Sometimes I think about writing for future generations. I don’t think I’ll get married or have children, but my grandmother was very much into genealogy when she was alive. The fact that there were things left behind for her to piece together is important, and maybe it is important for me to leave some legacy as well.

    I have some long days ahead of me. Again, thank you for your words.



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