I don’t want to be writing this letter.
I love this school and if this turns out to be a goodbye letter, I’ll be having some serious words with the Lord. I know I’ll leave those conversations feeling silly and provided for even in the pain and the chaos of everything but if this really is goodbye, He’ll listen to the anger and the sadness and the fear that comes from it. I’m grateful for a God who will lament with me over the death, temporary or otherwise, of a piece of his Kingdom.
I love people. So much. And King’s has only deepened and furthered that love. It seems to run in my family; I’m at King’s largely because my dad fell in love with Noah Hunter and Miles Sinagra during my Inviso. I guess my dad knew the King’s community was something special before I did; he was convinced Miles was the best 20-something-year-old man he’d ever met. When I got to ask him if he would speak at Fall Retreat this year he got so excited to get to see Miles again. I had to break the unfortunate news that he had graduated last year; he took it as best as he could. We both miss Noah Hunter, I hope he and his wife and toddler are doing well.
I couldn’t really cry when I first got to King’s. I had built high walls around my heart. I’ve moved a lot, I’ve been bullied, and I believed that my heart would be better off with its door locked rather than open. Turns out that was wrong. You need to be vulnerable to fall in love. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a ring-by-spring King’s success story, but I did fall in love. A lot. And when you fall in love, you cry. I guess it’s a good thing that I’m crying as I write this.
Dr. Brand introduced me to my first love. His name was Marcus Junius Brutus. You may know him as the “Et tu?” guy. He’s great. Poor, wonderful Dr. Brand had to put up with several overly complicated and outlandish final paper ideas from me, the cockiest being a historically accurate re-write of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus and the silliest being a Roman Republic version of The Bachelorette. I was the bachelorette, obviously, and the bachelors in question were Brutus, Cassius, Marc Antony, Hannibal, and Hamilcar Barca. My thesis was going to be about which of the five I would marry and why. If any TV producers happen to be reading this, hit me up and we can collab.
I researched each of the statesmen and warriors and got to know them all better through primary and secondary sources. I didn’t think I’d actually fall in love with one of them but if you read the primary sources on Brutus, I know you would too. He was a man of integrity and character. He loved his wife. Did you know that he wasn’t the one to come up with the plan to assassinate Caesar? That was all Cassius. Nobody would even get on board with the plan until Brutus agreed to it; he was so honorable that the people knew if he signed off on something, it meant that it was a wise and moral decision. I can only hope that one day my character will have the same reputation and effect on others.
So yeah, I fell in love with him. The sucky part about history is that you have to learn about how all these wonderful people died. Brutus’s death broke me. I found myself suffocating a little bit as I cried into my mask in the back of the City Room; I was a wreck for two days. I don’t want to go into too much detail as to what happened, it’s already been an emotional couple of weeks and I don’t think rehashing that would help much, but essentially because of the honor-shame culture he had no choice but to kill himself upon his military defeat. Ask me about it some other time.
Dr. Brand brought those statesmen to life. He’s an incredible professor with a true gift for teaching; he made me want to pursue further education in history and an eventual career in it, Lord willing. That wasn’t the last time I cried because of his class. He made me fall in love with Princess Radegund; I openly sobbed while giving a presentation (oops) on the trauma she endured as a young girl and the beauty that the Lord brought from it. He made me fall in love with King Alfred, the man who lost his kingdom to the Vikings because he wasn’t paying attention and who had to flee to the swamps in order to survive. He ended up finding a shepherdess who let him stay in her house and told him to watch the cakes she had in the oven to make sure they didn’t burn. Low and behold, she came back and he hadn’t paid attention again; he had burned the cakes. Even at his lowest of lows, an ex-king being scolded by a shepherd woman, he didn’t give up hope. He rallied his forces, united most of England for the first time in history, brought incredible military and educational reforms, and defeated the Vikings! And you know what’s written about the last five years of his life? Nothing. There’s silence. That means he found peace! He lived out the rest of his days reading his Bible and enjoying his family. He raised his sons and daughters well and got to watch England prosper. Tears.
That’s what I want for King’s. We burned the cakes. Maybe we’ve been burning the cakes for a couple of years. But we can come back. I don’t know what that will look like or what is going to happen, but I know that this school is good. This school is playing chess in the fishbowl and losing every time. This school is watching Jackson Fordyce’s vlogs when you’re having a bad day. This school is running away to Times Square after you turn in a bad paper. This school is doing 36 Questions by a helicopter pad and regretting the taco bell you had afterwards. This school is trying to explain what Interregnum is to non-King’s friends. This school is renting a keg of root beer for Root Beer Olympics and then forgetting it by the front of the school during an Inviso. This school is sacrificing sleep to pour into your friends when they’re having a hard time and them doing the same for you. This school is learning how to have hard conversations even when it’s the scariest thing ever and the last thing on earth you want to do. This school is talking about childhood trauma and boy problems in office hours with Dr. Johnson. This school is Met trips with Dr. Bleattler. This school is trading awkward banter back and forth with Dr. Blander. This school is watching Dr. Parks light up when he talks about Lincoln. This school could be King Alfred. I believe we can still have those 5 years of peace. And if not, I’m just thankful.
Thank you, thank you, thank you King’s for all the tears, the happy ones and the hard ones and all the ones in between.
I’m in love with you!
Alexa Howard
Director of Student Services | House of Corrie Ten Boom | Class of '24
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