This week is an exciting/nervewracking one for us. My husband has applied to 9 grad schools in the hopes of doing an MFA in creative writing beginning Fall 2011. After months and months of research and work, we are finally entering the season where we start to hear back from the schools he applied to. If he gets accepted at Ohio State, we expect to hear sometimes this week/weekend. From there we will hear from the other 8 schools gradually over the next 6-8 weeks. It’s exciting to finally be at this point, but my stomach (and I’m sure his even more so) has just been in knots as we get closer and closer to knowing. I think the thing that makes this so nervewracking (as I am sure anyone who has gone through any kind of application process can testify) is that we have absolutely no control over the outcome, despite my husband having put a tremendous amount of time and energy into it.
This is the point at which I will tell people/myself that I have to just trust God and know that His will will be done, but more and more lately I really wonder what it means or what it would look like to trust God and His will. In a sense I feel like it’s easy to say that you are trusting God because whatever is going to happen is going to happen and then you can just try to content yourself by saying that whatever the result was, it must have been God’s will. But what would it be like to really rest in the knowledge that God is in control of the situation instead of just using “God’s will” as a way to comfort ourselves if things don’t go as we imagined they would?
At the core of this I see the real issue being a matter of contentment in and with whatever situation we are in. This is something I admittedly lack much of the time. I find it very difficult to stop myself from constantly looking forward to the next big thing. In high school I couldn’t wait to go to college. In college I couldn’t wait to graduate and get married and not be in classes anymore. Now I can’t wait to move from this cold, cold place and find a “real” job instead of nannying. At each phase there is always something else to be looking towards. I recognize that this is a never-ending cycle and that there will never really be a point at which I’ve arrived, and yet I have not yet learned to be present in the moments that I am given every day. To be present in the job I am doing, or in the activities I’m involved in, or in my conversations with those around me. I am constantly distracted by what I would like to do later…in a new season of life, next week, or even just later that day. Yet, God sends me reminders every day of the blessings I’ve been given and the need to be fully present and content with where I am and what I am doing. Perhaps contentment with the present is as much a sign of faith as any other.
For Christmas Sami receive a pack of chapsticks that are all different soda flavors/colors. She has root beer, vanilla coke, cherry soda, grape soda, and orange soda and she insists on layering them all one over the other when she wears them. She also never seems to get the chapstick onto her lips, instead spreading it artfully in a large sticky circle all around her mouth. Yesterday morning she bounded downstairs smelling strongly of artificial grape and cherry flavor with a sticky rainbow ring around her mouth. She grinned up at me, “I put on some chapstick,” she said. “I see that,” I told her. “I look marvelous!” she stated. She didn’t even need me to affirm this.
How simple. To take such delight in putting on chaptstick and to accept wholeheartedly that doing so made her look marvelous. I too want to remember what it is like to delight in such small things and to feel that something as insignificant as putting on my chapstick has meaning and worth. I too want to look marvelous.