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Posts Tagged ‘grad-school’

Dear Friends,

Life continues to astound me. Despite my perpetual and utter uselessness when it comes to my novel, I’m in a downright peppy mood as I jam out to Francesca Battistelli’s new album: If We’re Honest (Deluxe). “Sometimes it feels like Starbucks is my permanent address,” she sings in I am Home, a song that describes home as so much more than an building and contentment as so much more than reaching goals. With lyrics of longing while fulfilling her dreams loaded into her last work, I am encouraged and thrilled to hear her choice to be happy right where she is. And that happiness doesn’t come from dreams. It is Paul’s ‘secret of contentment’ found in Philippians 4:12b, “for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content,” and in 1st Timothy 6:6, “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” Oh, what gain!

10245289_10203033352971455_4028926361156906554_nI am still amazed that I chose not to attend grad school and remain in complete loss as to what the future holds. Yet, as I slug my way through the mire of same-old-same-old and the maze that is The Lure of Lemons, my life is getting downright exciting. It is more than my favorite coffee filling up the kitchen or the flowers I was given yesterday for Administrative Assistants’ Week. It is more, even, than the gratitude I feel for being asked to teach a mini-writing camp this summer as well as to take on a writing student for the fall semester. Truth is, whatever is coming, its certain to be good. Because God is the Author of my story.

Sure, there will be crashes when everything will fall apart. Honestly, they happen more than I want to admit. Yet, I am learning, that good is not the absence of tragedy. My future is bright because it is controlled by Someone a whole lot more intelligent and creative than I am. He is not fumbling around wondering what’s going to happen, like I am in The Lure of Lemons. He is beauty and mercy and power and crazy in love with me and in absolute control. In that knowledge, there is contentment. Poor or rich, successful or failure, author or not. Contentment.

To close, some lyrics from Battistelli’s He knows my name:

“I don’t need my name in lights. I’m famous in my Father’s eyes. Make no mistake. He knows my name.”

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Starbucks got pretty fun yesterday. A few of us pulled out the ear-buds and acted like real people, trading jokes, stories, and turns watching laptops. It was pretty awesome. It filled a need in my heart for community–something I feared I was sacrificing when I decided not to attend grad school in Virginia.

And after I had returned home, Sister Kate showed up. We went for an unexpected walk, catching up in about twenty minutes. All of it strengthens me. And I needed some strengthening.

Last night I also attended a Good Friday service. Contrary to the somber affairs I had been accustomed to, this one was lively. It was full of upbeat music and positive thoughts–focusing on the glorious words, “It is finished.” Rescued. Christ’s death rescued me. Living a story full of heartbreak, thrill, adventure, danger, and success that would make a novel jealous, I am fully grateful for that rescue. Christ is my knight in shining armor. The One Who says I never have to be alone. Hallelujah.

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On this quiet morning, with my parents still asleep above me and the furnace warming the house, I find myself with an unfamiliar ache. I woke up missing my Sister Kate (she’s on vacation with her husband. Good for her!) with a furry that actually made me stiff and sore. That I would miss her was no surprise at all. Kate and I have been joined since I entered the world of men. But, being a reflective sort of person, I thought that the pain of her being on vacation was a bit over dramatic. Pretty soon I realized that I might have been misplacing some of the longing for a sister.

When other sister was four years old, she stood up in church and told the congregation what she was going to do with her life. Now, twenty-six years later, she’s in the Middle East to do just that. When we traveled through the ice and snow last weekend to say our goodbyes and join in her farewell service at her home church in New York, I felt very little other than a healthy dose of affection for her. In the first place, she has lived away most of my memory-making years (for college, grad-school, and a year and a half in Southeast Asia). And in the second place, I have been prepped since birth to accept her leaving. So while I was prepared to miss her, I wasn’t prepared to feel this. It is not missing, really. I probably wouldn’t have spoken to her in the last week anyway. No. It is the deep understanding that as she pursues her calling, life will not return to the way it was. Twice-yearly hang-out trips turned shopping and Broadway in New York City are behind us. Teaching a class together, editing a novel, watching Netflix on the couch until we both fall asleep, coffee dates… Those things may or may not ever happen again.

But that ache I woke up with, once understood, could be turn to joy. Because while life will never be the same, that may be the best thing ever. Just imagine, teaching together at a University in the Middle East instead of New York, or sharing a cup of coffee as tourists in Jerusalem, or creating a novel based on the things I witness when I visit her. Yes… Life will never be the same again. And that is perfectly okay.

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