Life is not always as we expect it to be. I should know that by know, it's true. After all, my own life got turned on its head in the space of two weeks during last September. But at least that time I had a pretty good sense that whatever happened, it was what was supposed to happen. Sometimes circumstances are not quite so clear cut, and the road is not such easy going. Like right now...
I have always been someone who has a plan, who shies away from uncertainty and attempts to craft realistic plans for the future. Always, there is a next step, even if it's just a small step or the accepted one that most people take. So I at last went through all of the steps to apply to Biola, completed all of my enrollment items save one or two that still needed to be tied up, and thought that I was ready to go. But what I didn't notice from day to day was the sick edge of stress that was wearing at the edges of my nerves. It was money. I hate money. Or, well, I suppose I don't mind money itself. It is a means to an end: the hopefully superior form of the bartering system, whereby I give you the means for you to get something you want and you give me something you have that I want, or vice versa. I just hate that it's impossible to get by without it.
[I feel like this is an appropriate time to make a confession... I sometimes wistfully daydream about living in one of those post-apocalyptic storylines. When technology and information systems are destroyed, when roadways are rendered virtually impassable, life has to get simpler. True, there are downsides. Healthcare is in its rudest form, the transmission of knowledge is limited... But with great knowledge comes great responsibility, and our knowledge base has far outstripped our ability to be ethically responsible for its use. And college would basically not exist in this other universe, so I could learn the way that I want to, since that is probably more along the lines of the ancient methodologies anyway, and nobody would complain if I wanted to teach without having a degree in something useless for which I paid half of my life's labor. Yeah, I'm not bitter, but I'm disappointed.]
So at last, as I was lying in bed, I finally told myself that it was okay to turn down the apparent school of my dreams. In some ways, I feel like I'm in a relationship that took a downhill turn. Y'know, "How many bases did you go with him?" And the more bases you cover, the harder it is to break-up even when you know that you should because it's not going anywhere healthy... Well, this is the farthest point I've reached with any college, so it's hard to break my plans and daydreams of the future from this setting. What's a play without a backdrop? There is no grounding for what takes place. And for the first time in my life, I found myself staring at a big, blank, scary Nothing. I panicked.
So the last few days have been a little tough. They have gotten better, slowly but surely. I spent most of Sunday in a drained, depressed stupor, freed from one stress only to get stuck in another. But Monday was good, and today was better, and tomorrow will probably provide some clarity about what my options are. Probably the reason I am doing as well as I am (because, from prior experience, I ordinarily wouldn't be) is simply that in the midst of it all, God has been so sweet to me. My pastor has been talking about the prophetic, and during the post-message demonstration time, I knew that someone would have a word for me. Even though I was on a bit of a time crunch, I waited until the end, and sure enough, Frank simply said that he felt like God was saying He was my protection and safety. Is there balm in Gilead? I don't know, but we've got some here in Lancaster. There have been other moments, captured in the midst of the rush of the day, each one inspiring me with the courage to walk a little further forward. And I guess, really, this is what I asked for: to grow closer to Him, whatever the cost. So I shall take the advice of the beloved hero in Meet the Robinsons and "keep moving forward."