Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Day 18

God didn't get too many chances to surprise me today, because I spent almost the entire day in the library writing my paper for Jesus in Scripture and Tradition. And perhaps watching a few episodes from this season of Lost, I'm not sure I can admit to that publicly, though.

I planted myself in various parts of the library throughout the day: fifth floor right by the shelf of religion books about John's Gospel, later on 3rd floor by a window, and later on first floor in a small little cubbie with comfortable chairs. The change of scenery helps keep the brain active. Sure.

And throughout my writing, God did end up having a few little surprises to throw at me: namely, Microsoft Word kept having fits. Now, of course, that should be of no surprise, given that it is a product of the Evil Empire of Gates, but today was worse than normal because, apparently, it thought it found another copy of MSWord on the St Olaf wireless network in the library with the same product id as mine, and thus it decided that it just had to quit. I found this to be incredibly aggravating, because I purchased my copy of MS Office fair and square, so for it to have the nerve to suggest to me that I'm using pirated software is beyond insulting, especially considering how much that horrendously buggy piece of something software cost! Thankfully I'm a habitual saver, because otherwise this awful misfeature would have caused doom and lost work. As it was my productivity sunk because I could not be simultaneously working on my paper in Word and also be connected to the network (read: "internet and email"). I guess I did volunteer to take the bad with the good, though. Surprise.

In the midst of cursing Microsoft, some research did actually happen, and I found a couple books that were wonderful resources. Who would have suspected that entire sections of books had been written on just the exact subject I wanted to write about?! Certainly not I, because until today I had no idea. (My topic, by the way, concerns the applicability of the title "king" for Jesus in John's Gospel; it's something I've wanted to look into since first-year religion two years ago, but not exactly something I would have expected to have much written about it–Surprise!).

Somewhere in the middle of the day I left the library to meet Nicole for lunch (I think that was my transition between fifth and third floor), and then came back to hammer out my introductory paragraph. It actually came pretty quickly: based on what I'd read and my own opinions, I knew where I was headed, so laying it out wasn't hard. Making the rest of the words appear on the page, on the other hand, was slightly more difficult, and I didn't finish until about 9:30 (after being exiled from the closing library).

This paper is the first time I've ever had to use footnotes instead of inline citations, but, to my very pleasant surprise, the professor had given us an example online of how these footnotes should be formatted, saving me from the guesswork of trying to decipher the cryptic "style guide" that he also so kindly provided.

My day was not completely consumed by my paper, though it feels like it. Dinner I ate alone for the first time in 17 days (sad surprise), but perhaps that was for the best, since I needed to finish quickly and get back to work. Then later, while, um, "taking a break", I happened upon a friend's FaceBook profile (clearly FaceBook was actually part of my Gospel of John research... yes), and saw another Scripture passage from Hebrews (I think I mentioned some number of days ago that I'm now keeping track of all the Hebrews references I find, or that find me): "Faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see" - Hebrews 11:1. I'm too tired to think about the deep meaning much right now, but perhaps some day when I look back and read this, it will make complete sense. Or maybe there's someone else who will read this that needed to hear that, who knows?

The rest of my evening was lost to Lost, as well as discovering some of the episodes hadn't downloaded properly, so I needed to restart those. Good to find out now, though, before I'm ready to watch that particular episode only to discover it's not ready.

Hmm. In retrospect, I guess God did have a number of surprises lined up for me today after all.

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