THE MACBOOK COMES:
We were making ice cream in Chemistry when my world almost fell to pieces.
"Will Mary Garvin please come to the office?" The overcom asked my school.
I knew it wasn't going to be pleasant. I knew the principal was about to ask me about my progress with graduating early and what not, and it's hard to explain in a good way. How do you tell someone that you still have to take an entire semester long class to take and pass it in one week before graduation? It doesn't matter if you assure the person that it's an extremely easy class and that you will finish it within three hours at the very most. They're still going to freak out.
But before I had even made it through the office door, I found out that it was going to be my principal explaining the bad news, not me.
"Mary, has Mr. Terrel told you that you may not walk the stage?" My Aunt Sherry said to me outside of the office. She had just gotten out of a meeting with Mr. Terrel about the graduation slide show that she's in charge of. Apparently, the two were discussing who may not walk the stage, and thus not be included in the slide show, and I was one of them.
"What? No!* Mrs. Schkade said..." I said, trying to resist slipping into the now spinning room.
"No, honey. You may not get to walk. It's because you are missing grades in your correspondence class from Tech. He needs those grades and your final exam grade before he can let you walk," she said.
I don't remember exactly what happened after she said this. My skin was clammy and the sound of my heartbeat was muffling the sound of whatever she was saying.
Sherry held my hand and guided me into the principal's office so we could all talk together. My face was either bright red, or green. I know this because every time I turn one of those colors, people are more inclined to helping and feeling sorry for me.
Mr. Terrel pushed a piece of paper towards me and my aunt that had all of my grades from the Texas Tech English class. There were three missing. The first was lesson four, and one that my teacher and I have been pestering Tech to post on the internet. I explained that to each of them, but neither really seem to understand. The second was my outline and works sited for a research paper. It was turned in, and waiting to be graded.
"Well what about this lesson seven? What's that business?" Mr. Terrel said.
I then explained that lesson seven is the research paper. I, again, tried as hard as I could to explain that I couldn't turn that lesson in until my teacher graded lesson six, but that I had already done the research paper and as soon as I got my grades back, I would only have to click send to have that lesson completed.
"Okay. Good deal. What about lesson 8?" Mr. Terrel said.
"Lesson eight is the final. I can only request the final once lesson seven is turned in. Basically, all I'm doing now is waiting on Tech," I said.
I thought this could ease his tension and I hoped to God he would say, "Oh! Well what am I freaking out about? Of course you'll walk the stage then!"
But this is not what he said. Not even close.
"You know, Mary," Mr. Terrel said leaning back in his chair, folding his hands behind his head. "If you would've taken care of business sooner we wouldn't be dealing with this dilemma."
That hurt, but not nearly as bad as this.
"I've been asking you all year if you've been taking care of business, and What did you say?" He asked.
"I said yes," I whispered.
"But you haven't. And now we're having to rush," he said. "This is a lesson you need to learn, Mary. But I'll tell you what, this will never happen again, will it?"
There was an odd twist of encouragement in his words, but I still felt humiliated. I felt like he thought I lied to him, and that's what hurt the worst.**I left, and spent the next three hours in Mrs. Schkade's office crying my eyes out. I was absolutely humiliated. I didn't want my teachers to think I was a procrastinating, irresponsible, care-free, lying kid, but that's exactly how I felt for those three hours.
Sherry stayed with me for a long time in Mrs. Schkade's, and I'm not sure if I've ever felt so loved. I've always felt inadequate to Sherry and her picturesque family. Sherry's daughter, Suzete, is going to be giving the Valedictorian speech at graduation, and I might not even get to walk the stage. So when Sherry stayed there with me, it was both humiliating and re-newing.
Mrs. Schkade found out that I can drive to Lubbock on Tuesday to take my English final and ensure that I can graduate friday (if I pass it, that is). I eventually stopped crying long enough to go to one class before lunch, which was nice. Even though I didn't see it then, everything was going to be OK.
When I got home, I realized that there was a package on my doorstep. My Macbook had finally arrived.
It was beautiful. I opened it incredulously and ran my fingertips along it's soft aluminum cover. The keys lit up when I touched it, the graphics were clear and every thing was the way it was supposed to be.
Ten minutes later, my next door neighbor brought over something the UPS guy let her sign off for when I wasn't there. It was my Adobe Web Design Premium software. I hugged her, refrained from crying, and went back inside. I grabbed my new treasures and held them tightly to my chest as I walked to my room. There, I set everything out in order from most important to least. First-the MacBook. Second, the Adobe software. Third, the printer, and fourth the cable that connects my printer and computer into holy technological matrimony.
I sat back and pinned my eyes on the ceiling. I closed them. I opened them. I inhaled. I exhaled. I realized things, I tried to forget others. I tried to make a mental checklist, but couldn't. Everything stopped.
In the midst of everything sucking and hurting, in the midst of feeling like a failure and hypocrite, I remembered the blessings. I sat back up and stared at my Macbook. It was no longer a utility that I'd be using in college and for my own amusement, it was a symbol of blessing. God's blessing. It reminded me that everything was going to be OK because God said so. I know God said so because he knows my love language.
I feel most loved when people give me things. It's my "love language." And here God is, throwing Macbooks and scholarships at me. Not to mention the great graduation presents and what not (Mr. Yearger, my art teacher, gave me a Bamboo, and Mrs. Raymond and The Jone's got me towels. Oh! And Brittany Strebeck called me and gave me photo tips). Every good and great thing comes from God, and I'm so glad that I know and believe that. All of His constant blessing reminds me that he loves me and that I'm on the right course, even if there are bumps along the way. I will pass all of my finals. I will get to walk the stage. I know it.
You know, there must be some kind of specific reason God wants me at ACU next year, and I'm really excited to see what that purpose is.
*THINKING ERROR NUMBER ONE: I always figured that since I'm a "good kid" that Mr. Terrel would let me walk the stage and just give me a piece of paper instead of my diploma if my grades from Tech weren't in. Mrs. Schkade (my counselor) seemingly agreed, or at least thought it feasible, so I wasn't worried about it. Especially since there was really nothing I could do. This, however, was not the case. I am so, so glad I learned this lesson before going to college.
**THINKING ERROR NUMBER TWO: I truly thought that two weeks was plenty of time for my teacher to grade my research paper and final, but it's really not. I didn't realize that I'd have to wait on my teacher to grade everyone elses work and finals. Unlike the teachers at Albany High School, these people don't give anyone special treatment. There is no "Good kid" or "bad kid" at any time, especially around finals. To Tech, I am just another kid that procrastinated.