Friday, September 10, 2004

Well, here I am at the end of my first week of law school. I have to say that AVP2 is only marginally less scary the second time around, and since the game has just deprived me of my security blanket (which happens to be shaped like a pulse rifle, and fire 10mm rounds) I have taken a break to blog. However, let the record show that a goodly amount of pulse rifling has been done first.

In a lot of ways law school is like middle school: I go to school pretty much in a contiguous block starting at 0850, I have a locker, I have ridiculously heavy books, and I will spend virtually the entire year with the same section of about two dozen students, with whom I will take the prescribed classes at the prescribed plan. That's all actually pretty cool by me, since it eliminates a lot of the inefficiency which is found in undergraduate schedules and makes it easier to work. Also, if not for the section system, I wouldn't have gotten to meet the Duelist, and I am very glad to have met him.

The other thing of course is that all that structure is designed to give people something to hang onto when they freak out about the fact that they're in law school (ooh, big scary noises). Which they will do, even though they're at Stanford, which is the most stress-relieving university I can think of. And I have to admit that even I am stressed, even though I don't exactly feel stressed. If I wasn't stressed I wouldn't be listening to music 24-7, I wouldn't be reading Honor Harrington every night, and I wouldn't be so relieved to go somewhere with Meilissa. I wouldn't have enjoyed Friday Night Waltz quite so much.

Don't get me wrong, though: law school is fun. I talked to The DM the other day and he wasn't apparently clear on the fact that I am going here because I expected it to be fun. He was worried, in fact, that I might have come here essentially for the money (which, he recognized, would principally have value to me as a means of supporting a family). Well, I have other reasons too, but make no mistake: I don't do things I don't enjoy just because they're useful. Over the summer I saw the recent Peter Pan, which had a line in it that just jerked the tears right out of me. Mrs. Darling (well played by Olivia Williams) tells her children this:

There are many different kinds of bravery. There's the bravery of thinking of others before one's self. Now, your father has never brandished a sword nor... nor fired a pistol, thank heavens. But he has made many sacrifices for his family, and put away many dreams.

Where did he put them?
asks Michael.

He put them in a drawer. And sometimes, late at night, we take them out and admire them. But it gets harder and harder to close the drawer... and he does. And that is why he is brave.

Now like I said, hearing that I just started to cry. Good man, I thought. Good man. Yes. Unquestionably. But that is not me, and if I have anything to say about it it never will be.

Now, I have put away dreams to come here; don't get me wrong. I put away the dream of ever becoming a professional writer. I put away the dream of ever seeing Phoenix Earth in any kind of print. And I put away other, more recent dreams as well. Well, every now and then I take one out and admire it, late at night. But for the most part they're gone, and the statue room is closed, and I'm content with that situation.

I'm content with it because there's a fundamental principle of dreams at work here, I think. I am, in essence, a romantic - which for me means I believe in the importance and reality of the dream. Let me give you an example. It's romantic and dreamy to just know what your romantic partner is thinking: to be able to say or do something which is exactly what she needed. It is also romantic and dreamy for that to happen immediately, without having to talk about it or anything.

Well, this is the real world, and I will live that romantic dream in the real world if I have to conquer half the world to do so. But in the real world I'm presented with a choice: either I can learn to live in my girlfriend's world or I can not go through the draining and frustrating work of getting to that point. Which is the higher dream? I say the first one, and that means the second dream must be done away with.

And that is what is going on here. For instance, sure, I could have tried to become a writer. But that would have certain consequences for my family which I didn't consider worth the sacrifice. And as a bonus, I will still be able to tell stories to the people who matter. And then too there is the God factor, which changes everything. As the song says, the dreams I dream for you ... As my desires are more and more replaced by God's, so too are my dreams. I can't very well expect to be happy if I'm not following my dreams. The catch is that my dreams are not fixed. Which means I'm here not only because it's practical, but because I want to be. I have to be.

No comments: