Of Uncharted Waters

Just over two months ago, I pressed the “submit” button for the final assignment of the final course for my English degree. After you-wouldn’t-believe-how-many tests, after reading plays and poems and stories, after writing and editing and writing again, after deadlines and background music and tears and work, I was done. I’d done what I’d been wanting to do for years.

The exhilaration lasted less than a day.

I’d reached my destination only to be cast out on the sea again, and on a sea that was much choppier, amidst winds that howled louder, than the one I’d been sailing across for the last two-and-a-bit years.

What was my identity now that I wasn’t a college student? I wore—and still wear—other hats, of course, but none that gave me the same security or identity, or the same ready answer to the dreaded question of “What do you do?”

How was I to use my time now that I had less to do?

How was to I adjust to the fact that I’d always hoped to glide from a degree to marriage without that messy in-between stage, but here I was—my degree consigned to a previous act with me still awaiting a significant other to walk on stage?

And what was I to do next?

The last one seemed easy, initially. I had a plan to which I’d given hours of research.

But then it didn’t work out.

(And no, I’m not going to insert the “mice and men” quote here….)

And so there have been tears. And worry. And frustration. And wasted time. And searching for open doors.

I’m holding my breath now, as another door seems to be opening. Perhaps my little boat will have landed on a new shore in a few weeks’ time. That’s what I’m praying for.

But perhaps it won’t.

I shared this quote from Jared Wilson back in March. (It doesn’t appear to be on his website anymore, so I’m just linking back to my original post.)

“You know, it’s possible that God’s plan for us is littleness. His plan for us may be personal failure. It’s possible that when another door closes, it’s not because he plans to open a window but because he plans to have the building fall down on you. The question we must ask ourselves is this: Will Christ be enough?”

And, as a sweet friend told me recently, not just “enough” in a passive I’ll-close-my-eyes-tight-and-get-through-with-this sort of way, but “enough” in a way that draws us out of ourselves to create beauty and to love others, no matter how far our circumstances are from being what we want them to be.

This is my challenge. One that, frankly, I’ve failed miserably at.

How does Lewis close his essay “A Slip of the Tongue”?

“ Our morning prayer should be that in the Imitation: Da hodie perfecte incipere—grant me to make an unflawed beginning today, for I have done nothing yet.”



Of Lovely Things (6)

Happy November!

I hope your life these days is full of glimmers of beauty, like bright autumn leaves. Mine is, though too often I turn my gaze from the glimmers and focus instead on the grime that comes with being a fallen person living in a fallen world. But here are some lovely glimmers from recent days….

A chunky package from Amazon through the door earlier this week. The bare brown cardboard concealed a book I’d been waiting for since the summer. Oh joy.

Children…. Two girlies twirling their skirts and showing me their dance steps…. Seven-year-old boy falling asleep against me on the sofa while the adults discussed a psalm…. Reading a Robert Frost poem to my youngest brother.

A witty email from a friend.

Looking back over some journal entries from a dark days with the perspective of the unexpected, glorious goodness that God was soon to rain down, though I didn’t know it at the time. Reminding myself that He’s done it before so He can do it again in other difficult situations.

Chesterton’s essay “On Running After One’s Hat”, which was one of my reading assignments this week. His insights are marvellous. And hilarious.

“But in the case of all such annoyances, as I have said, everything depends upon the emotional point of view…. For instance, there is a current impression that it is unpleasant to have to run after one’s hat. Why should it be unpleasant to the well-ordered and pious mind? … It certainly is comic; but man is a very comic creature, and most of the things he does are comic…. Now a man could, if he felt rightly in the matter, run after his hat with the manliest ardour and the most sacred joy.”

“An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.”

Read the whole thing here. It’s not long and it’s so worth it. Oh, to live life with a generous sprinkling of GKC’s unquenchable enthusiasm!

What are some of your recent “lovely things”?