September 2011 - Age 23 - Onsted, Michigan
"Mom, do you ever get tired of living?" I asked the question not because I was suicidal, but rather because I was premenstrual and disappointed that the guy I liked hadn't called me since I told him to stop calling me in mid-April. I had explained to him that I wanted to focus on my ministry for the summer and that I didn't want to be distracted by his e-mails and phone calls. But the summer was well over, and I still hadn't heard from him. And I was beginning to regret the mistake I had made in pushing him aside.
My mom looked up from her book, and paused for a moment to formulate an answer. "No, not really. The great thing about life is that you never know what's going to happen next. It's filled with surprises."
Surprises... hmmm... God, isn't about time you surprise me a boyfriend? After all, I'm 23 years old - I'm getting old. Shouldn't I be getting married soon?
Shortly after my conversation with my mom I drove into Ann Arbor for some college night worship thing being held at a church that looked like a toaster. In fact, we called it just that - The Toaster Church.
At the end of the worship time my friend Christopher (aka Godwin) got up to make an announcement. "For those of you who are going to New York, we'll be meeting at the Markley parking lot at midnight to leave for the city. Please be sure to bring a sleeping bag and pillow and keep your packing to a minimum."
As people started in on their post worship service chit chat, I made a beeline for my friend Christopher. "What is this about New York?"
"A group of us are taking a 15 passenger van to the city to help with post 9.11 stuff. We still have 2 spots left if you want to come with us."
"Yeah. Do you want to come?"
I glanced down at the clock in the back of the church to see if I had enough time to pull off making a round trip home to pack. It would be close, but possible. "Count me in. I'll be there at midnight."
I rushed out of The Toaster Church and sped home to pack up and tell my parents the news that I would be heading to New York for the next few days. They loaded me up with cash and snacks, and I made the 45 minute drive back to Ann Arbor for the second time in that same evening, all the while pondering, my mom's statement, "You never know what's going to happen next; life is filled with surprised."
I made it back just in time to join the others on the 15 passenger van. I couldn't believe I was heading to NYC.
March 11, 2012
Several Sundays ago I had another one of "those" moments. You know, one of those moments where your world seems less than ideal, and nothing seems to be going your way. And you haven't quite yet identified or remembered that you're amidst a great spiritual battle (or perhaps, if you're female, another episode of pms.)
I complained to my parents over the phone, ".............." and started considering jobs in Indiana, so that at least I could be closer to my niece and nephews.
But then, the other day, just as my mom promised me years ago, something unexpected happened. I was surprised by life.
But in some aspects I'm not surprised at all, mainly because the longer I live, the more I understand that living a life of faith is filled with adventure and surprises - good ones!