My students took the AP English exam today. And today—as every year around this time, I wonder—are they prepared? —not just to take a test that in the grand scheme of life is rather insignificant—but are they ready for what’s out there?
I’ve taught enough years to see what a burden life can become. And this year, I think more than any other, I see down the common road of man and the suffering that can be neither anticipated nor avoided. Such is the fractured world in which we live.
I would wish them perpetual joy,
but that would make them ungrateful.
I would wish them ease and riches,
but that would make them weak.
I would wish they’d always sense the hand of God,
but then—they’d never search for Him.
I feel compelled to remind them of Rachel’s words in The Poisonwood Bible stating, “Any man who’d leave his wife to marry his mistress is not worth it.” Or Kurtz’ realization in discovering his own heart of darkness—of Donne’s “no man is an island” and his emphatic “Death, Thou shalt die!”
But tomorrow they have planned a party—a picnic of sorts. A final exam next week and their last essay—a defense of Christianity, using their secular novels as support—then like the baby spiders in Charlotte’s Web, they’ll float away. I hope they’ve wrapped those webs securely around Jesus and enough of the Word to hold them through the winds of storm.