Watteau's Embarkation to the Isle of Cythaera
I'm in the middle of graduate school applications at the moment, trying to coordinate the last few details before I finish uploading documents, checking boxes, and clicking the big "SUBMIT" button. While contacting the individuals who have been so kind as to write letters of recommendation for me, I received a staggering offer which I'm happy to share with you.
I've been invited to apply for a visiting tutor position at St. John's College, something that makes me feel so fortunate and excited and bewildered. Since graduating from the college last May, I have intended to get myself a PhD and then get back to the campus, hopefully as a member of their wonderful faculty. I thought that this process would take, at best, seven years. Now I find myself scrambling to compose the position application materials as well as my graduate school materials, and have to keep wondering how this happened.
I've just finished drafting the statement that's required, something I found to be quite formidable: A statement that presents in detail the current state of your intellectual life, telling us what questions most interest you (these may or may not be related to your scholarly research); the statement should tell us also how your intellectual interests might intersect with the St. John's Program, what you might contribute, and what you might gain, as well as what kind of teaching suits you, and what kind of learning you plan to undertake.
So now that I've written this out can go back to being superstitious and wondering how my fortune is going to change. I have this newly discovered problem of believeing way too much in luck. My string of dull, impoverished months were attributed to bad luck; a fortuitous job offer is mere fortune; my ability to get into grad school is going to also be at the whim of luck. If I find myself stuck behind a school bus on the way to work: bad luck; the book I just checked for on the library website has been rented in the last hour: bad luck.
It's getting ridiculous! Especially since I seem to lean to the pessimistic side of superstitiousness, expecting something bad to happen merely because I seem to have had something nice happen.
I suppose I think of Villette and Lucy Snowe's comment about Graham and Paulina:
And I identify myself more with her other example:
Some real lives do--for some certain days or years--actually anticipate the happiness of Heaven; and, I believe, if such perfect happiness is once felt by good people (to the wicked it never comes), its sweet effect is never wholly lost. Whatever trials follow, whatever pains of sickness or shades of death, the glory precedent still shines through, cheering the keen anguish, and tinging the deep cloud.
I do believe there are some human beings so born, so reared, so guided from a soft cradle to a calm and late grave, that no excessive suffering penetrates their lot, and no tempestuous blackness overcasts their journey. And often, these are not pampered, selfish beings, but Nature's elect, harmonious and benign; men and women mild with charity, kind agents of God's kind attributes.
I just feel like those "fortunate souls" probably don't go around thinking about their own fortune...that they must somehow remain oblivious to the gilded nature of their lives, and that my own hyper-conciousness must ruin any chance at unadulterated good fortune.
But it is not so for all. What then? His will be done, as done it surely will be, whether we humble ourselves to resignation or not. The impulse of creation forwards it; the strength of powers, seen and unseen, has its fulfilment in charge. Proof of a life to come must be given. In fire and in blood, if needful, must that proof be written. In fire and in blood do we trace the record throughout nature. In fire and in blood does it cross our own experience. Sufferer, faint not through terror of this burning evidence. Tired wayfarer, gird up thy loins; look upward, march onward. Pilgrims and brother mourners, join in friendly company. Dark through the wilderness of this world stretches the way for most of us: equal and steady be our tread; be our cross our banner.
Either way, I cannot wait to re-read Villette once the weather turns cold. I'm in dire need of tempestuous emotion and suppressed passion.