I have a terminal, collective crush on professors.
I’m not proud of this, any more than my inability to parallel park or my affinity for embellished fleece sweatshirts marketed to eighty-year-old meemaws.
But God is granting me the serenity to accept things I cannot change. And perched atop this list are my academic affections.
Some would say this is straightforward. An only child grows up with literary parents, accompanying her incandescently intelligent mother to college and charming the elbow patches off every professor.
Surrounded by smiling adults, she misses the entire Power Rangers franchise but dreams of theses and microfiche.
Fantasizing of Vassar by age eleven and Princeton Seminary by thirteen, she wants to live where the wonderfolk wield words like lightsabers.
Academia feels like a warm bath.
But I tell you there’s more to it, more than I can explain.
The first time I went to a convocation, I felt I could die of joy. My hummingbird heart, an anxious pet, sang a dawn song.
It wasn’t the entrance hymn, “O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing.” It wasn’t the chancellor in his indigo-velvet cap and doily collar, although his literal orb and scepter made me weak and strong. It wasn’t the presence of so much earnestness, furnish me though it did with purpose and pleasure.
It was the bath.
Gathered here, where all the ideas collected like the sparkles in the snow globe or the syrup in the chocolate milk glass, I felt clean and courageous.
Actual classes and — o sweet mercy! — actual professors, elegant or encrusted, avuncular or angular, supportive or spike-collared — only fattened my infatuation. I was home from a snowy day. The reading and the writing and the grappling and the marveling kissed the flakes off my lashes, tucked me into fleece pajamas, and served me bowl after bowl of tomato soup.
All these years later, I’m slurping it still. This love affair is terminal. It will give me life all my life.
And when I come to the end of this semester, climbing the spiral staircase and plopping down at a lefty desk one last time, I know where I’ll be when the bell rings.
I’ll enter heaven through a warm bath.
In the film Titanic, Rose passes through death to find herself on the grand stairway of the great ship. I was always moved by the image that God would be so kind as to welcome her home through the place that felt like home, like magic, like mercy.
And when I open my eyes for the first time, I believe I’ll see creaky wood paneling and Gothic windows, well-trod steps and doors in need of a little paint. I’ll smell the ideas. I’ll see the ticklish tendrils of ivy.
I’ll be clean and courageous.
And this time, I’ll have time to major in everything.
Does your creative soul need more uplifting reads? Check out these pieces by the MockingOwl Roost contributors and staff.
- Sputter of Acclaim
- Positivity Corner: Writing Games
- Positivity Corner: Being Edited
- Adjectives Aren’t Everything
As Development Director at Tabby’s Place: a Cat Sanctuary, Angela Townsend bears witness to mercy for all beings. Angie has an M.Div. from Princeton Seminary and a B.A. from Vassar College. She has lived with Type 1 diabetes for 32 years, giggles with her mother every morning, and delights in the moon. She lives in lovely Pennsylvania with two shaggy seraphs disguised as cats.