I am learning an ancient language.

A dead language. 

I’m studying it for fun.

Okay, it’s not fun, but I’m doing it.

I am spending hours pouring over translations, declining nouns, and conjugating verbs.  I am writing letters that are totally foreign—all from an alphabet that is bizarre and awkward.  I am suffering over wording that is impossible to pronounce correctly… because no one speaks it anymore.  I’m converting inane phrases and ideas into mumbo jumbo.  I walk around muttering endless vocabulary that has no practical application.

I hate it.

Deep down, I despise new and unpredictable things.  They’re so… new… and unpredictable!  Blech!  And I hate struggling.  I hate not knowing something.  I hate feeling foolish.

There’s no breezing through my homework.  There’s no articulate personal insight.  It’s just me… and the words of dead people who would laugh if they heard me butchering their vernacular.

Usually, I feel relatively competent in life.  Sure, problems come up, but I’m of the ‘keep calm and carry on’ philosophy.  But languages—they’re a whole different animal.  I once had an instructor endure listening to me brutalize the German dialect; after several torturous sentences, he said, “Perhaps sign language would be more fitting for your, ah, delicate nature with the foreign tongue.”

Utter mortification.

And THAT is exactly how I feel now.

When my daughter was little, she once broke down sobbing when making her first quilt.  She had pressed her squares incorrectly.

“WHAT is wrong?” my husband had asked.

“I’m embarrassed,” she’d cried.

“Why?!” my bewildered husband had questioned.

“Because I messed up!” was her wailing response.

“Did you know that if you didn’t make mistakes, you wouldn’t learn?”  My husband consoled as he cuddled her closely.  Her tears eased off in her father’s arms.

I think about that often.

I am successful.  I am capable.  And I did master sign language.

I signed up for this class, and I’m going to finish it.  (God willing).

What?  Why did I take this class if I hate it so much?

Oh, that’s easy.

The teacher’s brilliant, funny, engaging, helpful, and totally hot.

He’s my husband.