Square 1

Previously on Underground voices, we saw that, once again, I was freaking out about making a decision. Do I leave home (sort of) and live at university, risking my very life and relationship with my family? Dun Dun Dun

Well, turns out that the decision wasn’t really mine after all. I didn’t push too hard. I told tell her that I didn’t want to do it if she wasn’t going to give me her blessing. And this was probably a good approach. I mean, what if something did go wrong? I would never hear the end of it.

“Apparently, now’s not the right time.”

“$10,000 for room and board!”

“This might make you happy- it can’t be right.”

“It’s true that you can’t love your family more than God- but if you can’t even help the other members of your household, what makes you think you’ll have any luck in the world at large?”

So here we are, back at square one. The show is over and the status quo is restored.

Why am I not thrilled about this? I was perfectly happy before I got the call. Everything is the same, but why do I feel so disappointed?

I know that I’ve got to stop martyring myself, but I don’t want to. You see, I don’t think I really want to accept and embrace the situation. I don’t even think I want things to get better this year. I just want them to see me bravely suffering, and I want them to feel kind of bad about it. Isn’t that messed up? Oh, sure, I won’t cry all the time, but why not sigh every once in a while? Why not let them see the subtle sadness in my eyes?

I know this is stupid, especially when they think they are doing what’s best for me. They really believe they are. And maybe this is what’s best for me. You can’t really argue with God’s decisions. Or, I guess you can, but why even bother in this case? Why can’t I just be flexible and patient? Just a sliver of good attitude would go a long way.

I know that my “dream” couldn’t have been that great in real life. It’s doubtful that I would have found everything that I was looking for there. At the other end of that tunnel is probably just loneliness and confusion, albeit in a different setting.

I really shouldn’t complain. I mean, what would I really complaining about? “Oh, noooo, I have a nice home and my family loves me, and by the way, I am getting a college education and I have a few friends, and the Lord of all creation sent HIs son to die for me so that I could become His daughter and have eternal life, despite all the pathetic failures and horrible, unspeakable  sins tallied against me that will all be wiped away as if they never existed.”

Yeah, doesn’t get that much worse than that.

Hehe

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Change- So We Finally Meet

Hello change,

You were right, you always stalk on by when I least expect it. Still deciding how I feel about you.

Sincerely…

I was just merrily writing along, happy as a clam. It had been a good day, despite the fact that I felt a little under the weather. It was nice outside, so I hobbled around and looked at the flowers to get some exercise. I watched some TV, and sat down to do a bit of writing. The house was quiet- what I”d been dreaming of- and I had time to spare. Not to mention, my friend writer’s block has been out of town, so there are really no complaints. I only wish I had a little more drive and willpower to really push through.

But anyway, enough about that. I was writing, and I got this phone call. I thought it might be the hospital. For a split second, I probably thought I was dying. But no- it was good news! At university, there were a couple super last-minute openings for on campus housing.

Yes, I did consider that good news. Good news that I hadn’t been expecting at all, especially after the email that I got, twice, which basically said, “Yeah, better luck next time, there’s way too much demand so find some other option.” So, of course, I made peace with it. What choice did I have? Another year of commuting- I was okay with that. Wasn’t I? I was happy!

So, there it was, there was the opportunity that I’d been dreaming of for so long- leaving home. But was it there to just taunt me? I imagined telling my mom about this. I expected an immediate and emphatic “no.” Why disturb the delicate balance?

I waited for what seemed like a long time. When we finally sat around the table with our sandwiches, I spit it out. To my surprise, she did not say “no.” She asked questions, made conditions, and expressed some concerns, but very calmly and cheerfully. I couldn’t believe she was being so reasonable. But it wasn’t a definite yes either.

I couldn’t curb all the youthful excitement. I could see a glimpse of it, of everything that I had ever dreamed of. Not spending two hours a school day in the car, having friends, people to talk to, going to events, meetings, making a difference in the community, being part of people’s lives…

Long story short, I asked my mom for an answer. She went back and forth many times. I cried a little. She obviously doesn’t really want me to go, but she could kind of understand my position. And I could understand her concerns too. Okay, that’s not really true, but I am truing to understand her position.

The reality of the thing hit me. And the price- almost $10,000. I knew it wasn’t going to be the dream I thought it would be, but reality always seems to hit me much harder than I imagined it would.

Now, where we stand is that I am allowed to go. She won’t hold me back, but she won’t support me either.

I am excited, frustrated, and yes, very apprehensive. I don’t want to ruin my relationship with my family over this. I don’t want to be selfish.

I just want something to change I guess!

Is this what God wants? Would it be best for everyone in the long run?

I’ll sleep on it, I guess. Maybe by tomorrow, the opportunity will be gone, someone would have already taken it. I’m kind of hoping that’s the case so I don’t have to make a decision.

But I don’t really want that to be the case!

Agh- a house divided cannot stand.

Celebrating Small Victories

Sometimes, it’s hard to think of things to be thankful for. It’s hard to acknowledge favorable circumstances as divine blessings rather than the machinations of the world. And yet, that’s what they are. We are owed nothing in this world, and yes, we can’t take anything with us either. 

The Bible says, paraphrased, ask and you will receive (Matthew 7:7). Yet I don’t know if that is completely literal. I think it doesn’t necessarily refer to asking for anything that we want and getting it. If I ask for a Ferrari, will it just fall from the sky? I don’t really think so. I am inclined to think that it means that we will get what God wants us to have and what is really good for us. Even if it takes a lot of time.

Well, anyway, sometimes my prayers are answered. Here is an example. There was this one girl in my discussion class that I kind of wanted to talk to. I prayed/ casually asked God  that I would have the chance to talk to her. I just felt some kind of connection to this person, and like maybe, possibly, I could help her spiritually (if God wills it). I know it sounds weird. And I did talk to her, after a few awkward encounters. I saw her twice by coincidence, and she sat near me twice in the huge lecture hall. Is that really just coincidence? I don’t think so. So maybe it’s hard to explain the situation to you. Maybe it just sounds creepy that I prayed to be able to talk to someone. It is hard to get to talk to people sometimes in such a big university, and well, I’m not much of a conversationalist anyway. Judge me if you want. So finally, after all these chance meetings, I finally did engage in a real conversation with her, as we happened to be walking in the same direction at the same rate after class. I mean, only had to walk a tiny bit faster to catch up. Is that really just stalking? But I know and God knows that He had a hand in it. 

Well, I don’t know what you think about it. The point is that I got to talk to someone at school, which actually doesn’t happen to me everyday, besides just business. And here are some other blessings: I am still kind of healthy even though I felt a bit under the weather yesterday, my book is coming along (sort of), and I had two casual Bible studies with this girl from a student org. So yes, things could be far, far, far worse. That is a pessimist’s way of saying, “Hey, I guess I’m content.” Well, I suppose being content is a step in the right direction. 

 

Let’s All Hold Hands and Denounce God (Reflections on College Part 1)

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I survived one quarter of it, but I’ve got to say that I am afraid that I won’t even be able to hang in there, faith wise, that is. I’ve experienced so much already considering the relatively short time that I spend on campus. Let’s just say, I now understand why college kids are abandoning God in droves.

It’s funny, but a lot of the things I was warned about are actually happening. The secularism, the left-wing spin, yes sir, it is all real. My goodness, I wouldn’t be surprised to find myself protesting and smoking weed, or worst of all, listening to folk music. And that stuff isn’t even my style! It’s truly amazing the kind of effect your environment can have on you. But you can’t let them get to you, you just can’t be so pliable. Isn’t it obvious- the former hippies are the new “man!” They’re running the university- but we have no obligation to believe them, we just have to pass their tests. They rebelled against the ideas of the generation before them. We can rebel against them. It’s important to remember that.

In my humanities class, we are reading the Bible for its “historical” blah blah blah. I sit there and listen to them dissect it, call it names, treat it as if it’s just another fictional story. The worst part is, sometimes what they say makes sense.

You have to continually remind yourself that it’s all just their opinion. Man, in his arrogance, thinks he has all the answers, but he doesn’t. Human knowledge has failed on so many occasions. I don’t know if I even need to give examples of that.

Has it occurred to anyone that the Bible seems to contradict itself because we just don’t understand it? Has it occurred to anyone that life itself is contradictory- that so many things cannot be easily explained in words? God told us what He thinks we need to know.

But sadly, even when it seems like I’ve won that particular battle, another one begins. It is not the battle raging in many a dorm room about whether or not God exists and that He inspired the writings of the Bible- it is the question of whether or not any of it matters. It is a question of whether or not I love God. It is a scary question. I hate to even think about it, there is somethings so sinister, so awful, so taboo about the thought of directly rejecting God even when I intuitively know that He exists, and, what’s more, that He wants what is really the best for me and for all us. And yet that is the question that we need to have an answer to, a good, solid answer. I do feel bad for even having doubts about my intentions in life- but I have to remember that this is, after all, spiritual warfare. Maybe it’s better if I let my doubts out in the open instead of shrouding them in indifference. Or maybe it doesn’t matter which path I take, I don’t know. But at the end of the day, we are either for God, or against Him. It doesn’t matter much the reasons- whether “intellectual ” or purely spiritual. We either serve ourselves, man, ultimately Satan- or we serve God. That’s all.

Photo credit: http://www.visajourney.com

He Who Exalts Himself….

Matthew 23:12

New King James Version (NKJV)

And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

I feel that all my life, I never found a healthy balance when it comes to the way I view myself. It seems that I’m always either tearing myself down to the point where I’m so worthless I might as well be dead, or building myself up to the point where I become some kind of genius who is going to change the world. I suppose I’m just too creative and insane for any kind of moderation in my life.

Yet right now, I know that I real need to humble myself, and do it fast, before God has to do it for me in a painful way. I would rather have it done in a less painful way, thank you very much. No earth-shatttering traumatic events please.

You see, pretty soon, God willing, I will be submitting my play to a competition at the university. Four plays will be selected to be produced. And now I’m going to just have to keep reminding myself that there’s very little chance that I’ll win. Why should I win? I’m not the only person with a modicum of writing talent. Sheesaloo, there’s probably dozens of creative-dorky types just like me submitting to this competition. And do I even want to win? What if my play gets turned into some kind of God-bashing, all-Christians-are-idiots deal? It wouldn’t be hard for them to go that direction. After all, I did write a play about hypocrisy and deceit, sprinkled with a very subtle pinch of good ole fashioned redemption. So it isn’t very preachy, but it could become the opposite of preachy with a little help.

Why should my play get produced? And why would they want to glorify God?

Why should my novels get published? They’re not even that good. Who am I, that I need to be published?

And so, for now at least, Underground Voices remains, in the underground.