Sunday, August 05, 2007

Willitts' MIA

A heavy teaching load in the month of July and early August and my twins have conspired together to distract me from the ability to have any useful reflections on scholarly issues. After Zion and Mary came home from the hospital the first of June life has been completely turned upside down. While it is true that a single infant can do this to any well-adjusted married couple, twins are in a whole another category. Even friends of ours who have multiple children, but not twins, are amazed at the amount of work that come with these two little packages. Karla and I have nothing to compare the experience of twins to of course, but I can honestly say these days have been some of the most challenging of your lives.

In early July I started teaching summer school. I have been teaching two summer intensive courses: one in the morning (Biblical Greek) one in the afternoon (Intro to the Bible). I would have certainly not scheduled things this way had I known what we had gotten ourselves into, but I committed to those courses before we knew we had twins. This meant then that I was teaching from 8:30 to 5:00 pm most weekdays. Well one of the courses has now ended and I will continue to be teaching Greek until the middle of the month. Then it is time to get geared up for the fall semester to begin at North Park starting on Aug 27th.

I have had to step back from scholarly things this summer which while on the one hand is frustrating -- like I have not been able to finish formating my Matthew book, I realize that there is just nothing I can do about it. I thought I would have time to work between things, but the reality of life has been very different and such idealism was naive. Scot McKnight has been a great encouragement to me in this however. He shared that in the early years of his children's lives he wrote very little. He had committed to being a family man first and not to sacrifice even a moment of his children's childhood for a scholarly project. I have taken this to heart. I am quite an ambitious person and feel compelled to make a contribution. I have begun the difficult process of re-orienting my thinking such that my children are now becoming what I consider my greatest contribution rather than what I can offer NT scholarship. And of the latter, who really cares anyway? As one of my former supervisors likes to say, "you're just moving footnotes around".

The truth is I am not reading all that has been published recently. I am not keeping up with blogging. I have not been able to write. Instead I am teaching and preparing lectures, syllabi, etc. I am feeding babies; I am supporting my wife; I am cleaning dishes, doing laundry, washing bottles, changing babies, bathing babies, going to Target and the grocery store. Of course I am watching baseball and the Yankees, but what else am I going to do for the hour or more I have my hands full with baby and bottle.


Michael Pahl said...

Joel, I wish you God's deep mercy and grace during this time. The first years - and especially the first months - are the most physically exhausting period of parenting, especially when you're still in the early stages of a new teaching position. That was certainly our experience when we had our first and I started teaching, and others have said the same. Of course, twins is a whole different ballgame!

::aaron g:: said...

Hang in there!

Tommy Wasserman said...


I know exactly what you experience, I also have twins (Sara and Rebecka) who were born the same term when I started the PhD programme.

Michael Barber said...


Great pictures. We really miss you around here, but we know you're doing more important work.

God bless...

Llama Momma said...

Your babies are adorable! I have twin boys who are 5 now, and I still remember those early days. There is nothing like it. It pushed me to the limits of what I thought I could do, and by God's grace, we all got through that first year. Each year after that poses unique challenges, but gets so much easier compared to those early days with two!

We even have one more, another boy, who just turned one. I've thought more about that first year with the twins since then because this is so different. It's so much easier with just one.

Embrace each day for what it is. You'll blink and those babies will be running around your back yard!