That dream where it’s the end of school

Maybe we share a dream.  It is the end of a year (semester) and one of a few things transpire.  One, I have a class I registered for and never attended.  I just realized I made an “F” in that class.  Two, I have a class I forgot to continue attending and forgot to drop and just made an “F”.  Three, I have a class I got behind in and in which I could not catch up, and I just realized, too late, I cannot pass it.  I just made an “F”.

If you have the dream about going to school in your underwear, and no one noticing, that is above my pay grade.  Seek help.

I have now taught long enough to see all three semester ending disasters.  I work hard for students to succeed, but sometimes a student ignores help (sleeps through, texts others, attends to more important details of college over class requirements).  He misses all emails, all notes on websites, even texts to his phone.  I then go in to input final grades expecting him to have dropped the class months ago and his name is still on the list!  He just made an “F”.

SO, the dream for him is real.  As he shuts his eyes he is reliving this semester.  He needs no imagination (other than what I look like as he never viewed a lecture) to endure the nightmare.

SO here the question is two fold.  Is Garrison Keillor correct?  And if he is right, where were you sleeping?

Keillor maintained long ago on the News from Lake Woebegone on the Prairie Home Companion that when we sleep in hotels or dorms we dream the unfinished dreams of others who slept in those beds.  If that part is correct, then where were you when you dreamed that nightmare?  You probably were in a hotel room, dreaming an unfinished dream of some blighted soul who should have dropped the class, didn’t, and awoke to the horror of failure.

Unless you were home.  Safe in your own bed.

If that was where you dreamed it, then I might suggest a DayTimer or School Official Calendar, or no nine topping pizza with killer hot sauce after 1 a.m.

Or, go to class, prepared, every, every day.  The world will expect such when you graduate and wade out into it.  I know.  It’s silly, but the world will expect that.  I’ve seen it.

Michael, you made us great.

When the Greatest Generation returned from defeating the Axis powers to build anew this country they had an unspoken “why?” or “how will we know” written on their collective consciousness.

They had liberated camps in Europe where Jews, Gypsies and problematic Christians were industrially disappeared.  They found mass graves of Poles of incomprehensible numbers.  They liberated our own men from Bataan, and Korean and Chinese girls and women from Imperial Army brothels.  They uncovered experiments on humans. They whispered and collected the memories.  They returned home.

“Home” was racially divided, patriarchal, and had a thousand challenges and somewhere, or in a thousand somewheres someone or a few hundred someones were sitting in churches and synagogues and university student unions in overwhelming numbers and they saw people like Michael, friends’ babies like Michael and knew that Michael represented a baseline for care.  Not only that, but people began to talk about, demonstrate, petition representatives and insurance agencies, schools, city governments on behalf of Michael and friends.

The question was, “What about Michael?” or “What about all of the Michaels?”  Those questions set us researching a hundred trails of cures, and that pushed watches, walks, runs, pink ribbons, pink JFL jerseys, food investigations, bad meds, pollution and so on.  Those answers made us a great country.  They are making of us a better country.

But it all began with that nagging question  Jesus put front and center, “What of the least of these?  What will you do with the least of these?”

And it wasn’t just governmental and research responses.  Basketball players got to come to Michael’s birthday parties.  Students knew when Michael was working and if they were mature, they talked to him and Teresa and others as they cleaned their tables.  Amy and Peter grew up taking it for granted they would care for you after mom and dad could no longer do so.  That made them taller and stronger, for you.  You reminded all of us at church that Jesus said you were thunderously important.  You reminded us that conversation is always important, on whatever level we can conduct it.  You advertised that people who argued for abortion if a baby might be problematic missed you.

You reminded us that a great nation, like any real church IS great when it answers well, “What do we do with the least of these?”

Have we written the final, best answer to that question?  No, Michael, we have not, but we promise to keep working on whatever the front page or back pages of the newspaper says is another place to answer, “How have I learned to appreciate and help the least of these?”

Do we miss you?  More than we could have known.

Thank you.  I was blessed to know you and your family.  Hey, if when we get to heaven you have a cool mansion, and I am sweeping streets, can we do sleep overs at your place?Michael Buchanan