Coming to Cayman the first time was like entering a theme park. It is a jewel set in the glittering seas of the Caribbean, seemingly serenely unaware and unaffected by the tumultuous political and economic seas on which Pam and I had been sailing the previous eight years (that is the past perfect progressive, for those who believe that verb tense never gets used in ordinary conversation). Every once in a while I wake up in a nervous sweat thinking that we are still trapped in Malaysia, a fate that very well might have been ours, had the Lord not protected us. I want you to keep that fear in mind as I describe what it is like to come back here. Whatever my present lot – the work, the trial, the unremitting pressure of performance – there is no fear in it. Therefore it is a good that I am about to describe, whatever your impression of it may be.
This morning we went to the beach for a swim. It is October 22, and I have been back ‘on island’ for ten weeks. This is my first swim at the beach. Ten weeks, seventy days, first swim. On the first day at school, which was the second day back, I was given a computer that would not keep a charge. It went downhill from there. Three weeks later I had a functioning computer. That put me three weeks down at the beginning of the year. I have just this week been healthy again after being the sickest I have been in a decade. I lost three weeks over that one. Although only two days out of class, I had zero voice for another three and two weeks around that sickness where I could barely function. That is six weeks out of the ten that I was damaged goods. The fact that I got to the break with most things done is testimony to the Lord’s good grace, not my competence.
In Grade 11 I got the novel for the quarter and three weeks’ worth of background to dramatic form covered (Life of Pi, Poetics, Oedipus Rex). In Grade 12 I got the novel and the drama study done for the quarter (A Tale of Two Cities, Hamlet). In addition I got the Community Service elective launched, taught two workshops and retooled my class websites. Report cards were submitted yesterday. At home I wrote a ten page, a twenty page, and a thirty page essay for the two Master’s courses that will finish off this degree, and launched a cell group in our home on Thursday nights. We researched and bought a newer vehicle – a Hyundai Tucson – and I started the IB Examiner course that I hope will teach me how to better prepare my students for the IB essays that they have to write.
I continue to get up at five every morning, and get an exercise routine finished before breakfast. Pam and I take the time to read a portion of the Bible and pray at the start of each day. In the evening we like to sit out on the porch for our supper and reflect on how God has been to us. It is a full and productive life, but there has been zero time for relaxation. I spend my weekends and evenings either marking student work or writing essays for my Masters. I haven’t been snorkeling, which I love, and aside from this morning, haven’t even swum.
I know there will come a time when all this transitional stuff will be over. I will have mastered the IB English curriculum, my class websites will be built, the Master’s course will be done, and so will the IB Examiner’s course as well. I will be able to get to the beach and swim every evening, and read a book just for the joy of doing so. But frankly, that day is likely at least six months to a year away. In the meantime, I continue to work away at what the Lord has placed in front of me, knowing that He knows my frame, and my inmost need. He must know that right now I need to work. I hope that, for this week at least, He knows that I need to relax.