Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Summer From Hell

I swear this summer has been a continual uphill battle with no end in sight. Though I have been entertained and greatly appreciate of the tasks I have been given with my internship, I have not been nearly as appreciative of the setbacks that seem to come at every turn.

Case in point: This week I lost all of the files on my flash drive. That is somewhere in the neighborhood of 128mb of documents, spread sheets, and pictures. I was able to retrieve around half of what I lost, but what was retrievable amounted to papers I had written for various classes that will never be important. My old philosophy papers came back, as did numerous MSN Messenger conversations I had saved, but the important stuff (like every bit of work I had done on the congressional collection of Richard Stallings) is gone. Both of my flash drives are at Galaxy computers as we speak and hopefully they are having better luck than I. The only positive of the situation is that some of what I was able to retrieve was a folder of papers I had saved from my English 102 class that I loved so much.

On a more personal level there seem to be many setbacks as I have struggled endlessly with family matters and health issues. I had an eye infection which seems to be clearing up, but only after steroid drops. I swear, if it is not one thing it is always another.

This summer I have not had the chance to read nearly as much as I would have liked to. Beside the required readings for my early summer class, I haven't picked up many other books along the long road to fall semester. I did get a chance to read My Life by Bill Clinton which I enjoyed immensely and recently I read Prayers of Our Presidents by Jerry MacGregor & Marie Prys. For an independent study course I have been reading Fortunate Son, Snow Falling on Cedars, and Coming of Age in Mississippi. I tried once again to read Tolstoy's War and Peace and failed once again to make it past the 100-page mark. I think I have attempted to read that book a total of 20-something times. I probably read a James Patterson novel or two and am still taking a stab at The Quiet American by Graham Greene. Nothing spectacular.

In all my reading, perhaps the most profound statements I ran across came from two very unlikely sources--Bill Clinton and Benjamin Harrison. Lately I wouldn't consider myself a very religious person, but I found so much strength and truth in a statement from former President Harrison to one of his sons:
"Prayer steadies one when he is walking in slippery places--even if things asked for are not given."

That one quote seems to encompass a great deal of the summer for me. Maybe I was praying for the wrong things, maybe I wasn't. Whatever the case may be I whole-heartedly accept President Harrison's statement and wish I could only express in this medium how profound it was when I read it for the first time.

There have been two summers in my life that I have found to be completely draining. The summer I ventured to Kent State and this one. But just like with the Ohio summer, I have found throughout this summer strength in the most unlikely of places. So I suppose it isn't the summer from hell, just another one of those things down the road I can count as incredible life experience.

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