Nervous Anticipation

While I was in seminary, every semester would end the same way. I would turn in my papers, take my exams, and then rush to the nearest computer to see if my grades had been posted yet. I would repeat this constant checking, every day, sometimes several times a day, for weeks, * waiting in anticipation for that grade to be posted.

I don’t really know what I expected. With the exception of Dr. Culbertson, none of my professors would have grades posted in the space of a couple of weeks, much less a few hours later. My only solace in this ‘insane’ behavior is that I wasn’t alone, as most of my friends watched their returns with the same sort of fervor. Every semester, without fail, I told myself that I wouldn’t get caught up in that sort of behavior, and yet every semester, without fail, I’d be in the website at least once a day, checking to see if my GPA had gone up or down a percentage point or two. The best I ever managed to do was last fall, when I was able to make it until the end of exam week to check my grades. Of course, I then over compensated by checking two, maybe even three times a day to see if anything had changed. I don’t know where this sort of behavior comes from, I was just happy to know that, once seminary was done, I could lay this compulsion to rest.

Or so I thought. I finished the last of my ordination exams today. For those of you who aren’t in the PCA, or who haven’t read any of my previous blogs, in order to be ordained in our denomination  you have to take a series of written exams on a variety of topics, in order to be ordained. These written exams are then followed up by two series of oral exams, and those won’t be till next month, but as of today, I am done with my written exams, every last one, finally. I’m done about 10 days earlier than I needed to be, but they asked us to try to get them in as early as possible so that the grader would have ample time to correct them and get them back to us. ** I assumed this meant that the sooner I turned them in, the sooner I would get them back, but I, apparently, assumed wrong.

I still haven’t gotten a single exam back yet. I was told last week that I’d have some feedback by Monday or Tuesday, and so I spent all day Monday, and Tuesday *** watching my phone, waiting to see if the needed email was in my inbox. The pastor who’s grading the exams is the head, and solo pastor at a busy church in south Charlotte, and the rational part of my brain knows this and is okay with the delay. But unfortunately, I have this tick, this compulsion, I need to know, and so it’s all I can do to not email him ten times a day like some obsessive teenager ****to ask him “WHATS THE DEAL!” My only solace is two-fold: 1. I’m assuming that no news is good news. Hopefully, if I’d stunk up my early exams, I’d have gotten a quick email telling me, “maybe you should try a little harder…at something else.” And 2. The committee meets on November 1st, which is only three weeks away, and I will most certainly know something by then. Three weeks…I can make it three weeks.
Of course, the Brock household is also anticipating another due date, and if you ask my wife, she’ll tell you that her anticipation is greater than mine. Little boy Brock is due November 6th, which is only 90 days later than when Donnette wished he was due. It’s been a little hard for me, writhing on the inside in anticipation of these grades, knowing that if I bring it up, she’ll just trump me with “try being pregnant.” ***** I say something like, “that Bible exam was a kick in the stomach,” and then she shows me our son, literally kicking her in the stomach. ******
So, we’re waiting. I am glad to be done with my exams. It will be nice to be able to turn my full attention back to support raising and parenting. Thanks to everyone for all the prayers and the kind words.


*And with some professors, months

**I’m going through this with five other guys, which will undoubtedly make for a long day of Presbytery.

***And Wednesday and Thursday…and today

****I was going to originally write teenage girl, but as I am a 33 year old man, this is clearly a gender neutral problem.

*****Pregnancy = the ultimate trump card.

******And I do mean kicking. This kid is crazy. With Avonlea, all her movements were little, dainty, feminine. With this guy, I don’t have to feel Donnette’s stomach to know he’s moving, I can see it from across the hall. It’s like being in my own personal Ridley Scott movie.

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