Monday, September 5, 2011

The Scariest Tense of All

When I was in college, there was this one class I had to take for my Psychology major called The History of Psychology.  Everyone who had taken it told me, Study as hard as you can, and if you get more than a “C”, be grateful.  I did… and I didn’t. 

I still remember printing all the names of all the Psych history-makers onto little pieces of paper and laying out a giant ‘tree’ on the floor charting it all.  Did it help?  No, not really.  I think I finished with a C-. 
Maybe I just psyched myself out (sorry! :O) ) but I couldn’t seem to grasp what the textbook said – and definitely couldn’t grasp what my Professor was saying!  He talked, using words in English, words I knew, but somehow, I couldn’t connect any of what he said.  It was as if he was speaking another language. 
I’ve been working on verb tenses for more than two months.  We started with Present, have worked our way through two Past Tenses, the Future, Conditional, Perfect, Imperative… Each one helps build on the next one, although I never feel like I’ve spent quite enough time on any of them.

On Friday Sonia gave me an exercise where I had to conjugate 20 verbs in five different tenses.  Today, we spent our time reviewing even more.  All in anticipation of… the Subjunctive. 
Just like my History of Psych class, this is the one that everyone talks about.  They all say Subjunctive in this hushed voice.  And, like that class, I’ve been given advice about the Subjunctive. 
One friend told me that he studied it for a solid month and never did grasp it.  Not all that encouraging, considering I haven’t got a month.  I’m down to 12 days of class!  He did assure me that after a while (a long while!) it started to make sense.  Ummm… thanks, I think!
I’ve been trying to remind myself that what I’m doing here in Antigua is getting an overview.  That like with driving a car, the ‘real’ learning won’t begin until I’m out there on my own in the D.R. 
But, I’ve got to be honest… I’m a little freaked out about tomorrow.  This weekend I read the section on the Subjunctive in my little Spanish grammar book I brought from home.  Didn’t. Understand. A. Thing. 
I’m having flashbacks to those lectures 25 years ago.  Only, this time, it really is another language!  It hardly seems fair that now, when my brain is packed to capacity, I have to learn the scariest tense of all.  (And yes, I do realize how silly it is to be saying that!) 
So, what do I do?  The only thing I can do.  I’ll take a deep breath and begin.  Today I’m going to spend some more time reviewing my notes on the other tenses.  I’m going to get a good night’s sleep.  I’m going to pray that the Holy Spirit would come alongside me.  I’m asking Him to help me ignore the voices that are telling me I can’t get this. 

I’m asking Him to help me remember (once again!) the reason I’m learning all these tenses.  Learning to share Jesus’ love in the heart language of the women, teens, and girls I am going to be serving in His name.  That’s worth all the struggle.  That’s worth… the Subjunctive.


  1. YOU CAN DO IT! Remember that God is going to equip you and give you the words. And the tense won't matter as long as you love the people you are ministering to and allow the Holy Spirit to use you!

    Love you, friend!

  2. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. With God's help anything can be accomplished. Keep the big picture in mind honey. Sharing Jesus, that is what God has called you to do. Rest in that fact tonight.

  3. Sorry to be the shallow, non-spiritual one here but... I can still hear Professor Sanderson(?) say "Wilhelm Wundt!" And somewhere I still have the "helpful" tree/study guide he gave us...pure chaos. I hope the subjunctive tense ended up being less painful than History of Psych...or that you find ways to avoid using it in your conversations. = )