The Mis-Education of Joy is a story about 3 unlikely people coming together for the “ultimate” divine appointment.
Christian Author, Paul C. Agard, author of the book, The Mis-Education of Joy, is one of the 3 characters. Paul has returned to college, then in his 30s to pursue his teaching degree. This college will be the setting for most of the story. Paul takes a History class, taught by Professor Jim Byrnes, our 2nd character in the story. Paul and Professor Byrnes don’t see eye to eye on anything. Paul is a Christian, married and has 2 children. Professor Byrnes was once a Christian many years before, but his daughter, dying in his arms changed all that. Like many couples who lose a child, Byrnes and his wife also divorced. Paul senses Byrnes anger toward God in class and throughout the story the two go at it head to head. Byrnes doesn’t hesitate to use his position as an educator to communicate his atheist views. The classroom of younger students don’t know what to make of Byrnes claims. “Religion is manmade”, “Evolution is true, not creation” etc. But like every classic tale where good fights evil, Paul stands up and tells it like it is. The two men have a captive audience and like every one of us will ultimately have to choose a side.
Our 3rd character, Joy Hunter is one of those students in Byrnes class. Joy is a bit of a miracle. She grew up with a rare disease that should have taken her life by 15. Joy, now 17, and with the disease in remission, graduates High school and is accepted into college with her two best friends. Joy is an only child, the pride of her Christian parents. Everything in the Hunter family couldn’t be better.
But things quickly begin to spiral downward as Joy begins to take to heart the “answers” that this educated man is telling her. The answers make sense to her. Joy seldom questioned her parents and Pastor when they didn’t have an answer for her. But now someone is explaining everything. Joy’s relationship with her parents suffers greatly as the relationship with her new mentor grows.
Paul’s persistence in the classroom is wearing Byrnes down. Although Joy doesn’t see it, some of the students do. Lives are being changed. Fast forward to the final scene in the story. Joy’s disease is back in full swing. Professor Byrnes is sitting on the side of her hospital bed. Joy asked that her parents stay out. Joy now asks Byrnes the toughest question of his life…”What will happen to me when I die”?
Joy Hunter has become a daughter to him and again he faces losing her. What will Byrnes say? Will he say what his heart is telling him?
The heart monitor flatlines…..Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.