I’m reading Traveling with Pomegranates, a dual (dueling? no-!) memoir from Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor. I’m not going to tell you about it, except for that I randomly ended up with a copy, and happen to be almost exactly Kidd’s age as she was writing. Looking into another writer’s head while she’s assessing what “50” is about? Intriguing.
As Kidd is sifting through expectations of change and actual change, Taylor (her daughter) is tackling the tasks of one’s twenties… including getting married. In a late chapter, Taylor notices that the casual acquaintance’s non-question, “What are you doing?” has shifted to “How’s married life?” In the anecdote she relays, after Taylor gives her answer, the questioner responds with, “‘But just wait until you have kids,’ smiling like she possesses a secret I don’t” (p241).
Oooooh. That always drove me up a tree.
That stance of magic knowledge (gnosticism, if you want to practice your theology terms) has always stung me as words designed to exclude. I’m pretty sure that the speakers don’t consciously intend to stiff-arm the person they’re speaking to; I’m betting they think they’re inviting the listener into joining them in the Next Thing.
Except that they’re not. They can’t. That’s how the magic knowledge works.
AND! And—what’s the big hurry to ditch the season one’s actually in? Why not savor the Current Thing together, smile, and say, “How wonderful for you” -?
Why the hurtling rush?
I chatted at our church picnic Sunday with a high school senior I know. She was one of the swirl of elementary kids in My Sweetie’s and my “shepherd group”; I saw her most Sundays from her first grade years until she headed off to middle school.
I wanted to catch up. I know senior year is a time of many, many big changes. I also know how stressful those changes feel, no matter where on that Senior Year Change Timeline one is. For those who are applying to colleges, some are most upset during the application process… but others are more upset in the season of waiting. And then there’s always the possibility one will have to pick and choose—a blessing, sure, but a dreadful responsibility. It’s often the first decision one makes that leaves a permanent mark. How is it possible to have to do this when one is only seventeen?!
Plus, I have a child who emphatically refused college despite it being, in a way, the family trade. She has made me even more careful about my words.
“So, what are you considering for next year? When are you looking at narrowing down what’s next?”
We talked of beauty school, of funding, of the plays and costumes left to do. Of the special joys of Shakespeare, including the penis jokes.
It’s a good time. Worth savoring. No rush.