Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Just Great! Expectations

When I was in ninth grade, we read "A Tale of Two Cities" in English class. Finding it a rather good book, I thought, "I'll try another Dickens'." The only other Dickens' we had in the house was "Great Expectations." I whipped the fat book off the shelf and began reading. I trudged and struggled and strained to read that book. It was hard. The language was flowery, the story odd, and it was just too much for my ninth grade brain to comprehend.

I hadn't gotten very far when I lugged that big book to school one day. I was trying to read it for quiet reading time and had just determined to quit the book all together, when my teacher, seeing my book, came up to me. "Jill," Mrs. Thornley said, "I am so impressed that you are reading another Dickens' book. I think it is great that you are reading classic literature."

Do you know what I felt? Guilt. Guilt for wanting to quit. Guilt for thinking it was so hard. And Guilt for not trying hard enough. I vowed at that moment that I wouldn't let Mrs. Thornley down. I was going to finish that book, even if it killed me.

Imagine my surprise when, a couple months later, Mrs. Thornley nominated me as English student of the year, ALL because I was willing to go beyond the normal capabilities of a 14-year-old and read Dickens' "Great Expectations." She knew I was capable of reading that book and knew that I could do better than I had done before.

Since President Monson's address at the CES fireside on Sunday, I've been thinking about the Great Expectations my Father in Heaven has for me. He has so much planned for us, He expects a lot of us, and He knows what we are capable of. It might be hard, and I might want to quit and give up, but as long as I try to do my best, I can't let Him down. And when I try my best, I will get a far greater reward than I could imagine.

I started a new book today--"Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens. Perhaps this time I'll understand it.


Chelise said...

Ohhhh. I'm interested in whether or not you like the book. I thought it was actually quite tragic.

Congrats on being the English student of the year :). You have my vote :)

Meridee said...

I hope that you don't mind if I make a comment. When we were first married, Lind read Great Expectations out loud to me while I made craft things. I loved the book. We have several family quotes from it. "What larks!" It's great and you will like it better this time around with some more of life's experiences under your belt. Let me know how you like it.
It was fun to run into you in the temple last month.