I don’t really understand people. Anyone who knows me well could confirm this. I am frequently confused when people do one thing and say another, or do something that doesn’t make sense, or fail to live up to a principle out of laziness and don’t feel like they’ve failed.

I’m by no means indicating any kind of perfection or steady making-of-sense on my part–I snap too much and when I’m hungry I become downright shrewish and stupid. For contrast, I’ll give you an example of the kind of thing I just don’t get.

This past semester I had a pretty major breakdown and missed a bunch of class. When I started to pull myself together, I emailed my teachers and told them what was going on, said I didn’t expect any slack or anything, I just wanted them to know that I was neither dead, nor just ditching. All of them wrote back quickly and said that under the circumstances, they would work with me so I could finish the semester.

One of them wrote that he hoped “God turns your pain” and that several of his family members dealt with similar issues and he would definitely work with me. I was very relieved, because I hadn’t been doing well in that class, although I was probably the most engaged, interested person in it as far as in-class performance. I immediately emailed him back and asked what exactly I’d have to do, since most of the rest of the assignments were group projects.

He never emailed me back. Never. I re-sent the email several times, checked my inbox and junk folders almost hourly for days, then weeks. I was having panic attacks every time I spoke to someone I wasn’t related to, so I never called him or went to his office. I accept my measure of culpability in this.

But even so…from “May God turn your pain” to completely ignoring a student in need? I just don’t get that.