A certain panic finds me

Last night Claire and I sat by the fire and talked about her BYU life, her classes, and her trip to BYU-Idaho, where she said her friends do very little studying because they simply don’t have much homework.  She is learning that BYU is very difficult.  As the Valedictorian of her graduating class last year, she’s never received a grade below an “A” in her entire life.  It’s a whole new world at BYU, where she has discovered a whole new range of grades on her projects, papers and exams.

It’s interesting to watch her response to these oppressive grades, blaring at her.  She’s in an upper division bio-stats class as a freshman.  She has a writing class with a teacher who gives little feedback, and she’s in several art classes with subjective analysis of her projects.  And then there’s her Book of Mormon class, perhaps the most challenging of all her classes.  Not what she expected as a new BYU student.

It’s all part of the learning curve we experience after leaving high school.  Last night we talked about how sad it is that some kids never even go there–they aren’t pushed, they just follow paths of least resistance, never discovering the far corners of their minds.

Claire began to list all the topics and fields of study she would love to pursue.  I listened, feeling her panic as I heard her tell me there is simply not enough time in four years to learn it all.  My mind went back to my BYU years and a treasured volume of poetry by Carol Lynn Pearson that gave me comfort then.  Every time I feel Claire’s same panic, I remember this poem and feel hope, even excitement.  Certainly comfort.  I think it’s time to share it with her:

The Reason

A certain panic
Finds me
When I see
A forest, a train,
A library.
So many trees to touch,
Faces yet to view,
And, too,
So many words to read.

If I concede
All space to earth,
All time to life,
The disproportion
Is absurd
(My tiny taste
And the giant waste
Of all creation
I’ve not known).
What a wretched,
Faithless view
Of God’s economy.

It isn’t true.
The forest, the train,
The library –
Are why we have

About Ann Laemmlen Lewis

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1 Response to A certain panic finds me

  1. Jennifer says:

    I have been looking for the author of this poem for 27 years! Thank you!!!

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