Facebook has been annoying me lately. Aside from the hours I pointlessly spend on it each week, there’s this random feed of pictures popping up on the side. Some of those pictures are relatively recent, from last year or so. But the pictures tonight were from my freshman year of college. I spent a few minutes going down memory lane, to say the least.
Spring term of 2011 is my last term as an undergrad. That’s the realization I had on Monday after I signed up for my three classes (J340, J397, and BI 122). I was thinking about a Religious Studies minor earlier, but I found out that I would need three more classes after this term and would have to come back to UO this fall. Don’t get me wrong, I love being a Duck, but it’s time to move on. I’ve been here for five years; it’s time for the next stage.
And that’s the terrifying part: I don’t know what the next stage is.
It isn’t like my senior year of high school where I knew that I would work two jobs over that summer and then trek off to college. I feel some pulls toward seminary, but yet there’s something still missing. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I know that there’s something else I want to pursue beyond a seminary education.
Last night I was praying beside my bed, thinking about where I’m going to be in six or seven months and kind of going crazy. I still have the desire to be married, but as I’ve said elsewhere, I still don’t think it’s the season to pursue that. I only bring that up to say that I don’t have any life-binding commitments such as a wife. It’s not a negative thing either; I want a wife. But since I don’t have one now, I have the liberty to pretty much go anywhere come graduation day. Complete freedom is exciting and yet utterly terrifying.
One of my nightly rituals, besides drinking two cups of coffee, is reading through a chapter of Proverbs right before I go to bed. I should start off each day with a chapter as well, but right now I’ve been capping my nights off with the wise words of King Solomon. Shortly after praying through a small anxiety attack, I stumbled upon 19:21; “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”
I want to write. I want to study Scripture. And maybe I even want to tackle the LSAT one more time, I don’t know. My mind has been going crazy with all the possibilities of what my future may hold. But the reassuring thing I went to bed with last night was this simple truth: God’s got a handle on my life, even if I don’t.
Those pictures of me during my freshman year were so enticing because they reminded me of a time when I didn’t have the worries that I do now. I didn’t have the pressure of making a decision on what I wanted to do with my life. All I was focused on back then was the next term – that’s as far into the future as I’d think. Today is a different story.
A couple of my coworkers asked me what I was planning on doing after graduating college. One asked if I wanted to be a high school English teacher, but that was never part of the plan. Another asked me what kind of stuff I wanted to write. I had to think about it for a minute. You see within the last couple of weeks, along with the anxieties of the future and an overwhelming amount of homework in the present, I’ve been losing the heart to write. I’ve been losing the drive. Whether these guys knew it or not, their questions prodded my mind and heart back to what I truly love to do, back to what truly makes me tick. And here I am.
I love to write.
There is a power, a beauty, to the written word that stirs my anger, evokes my sorrow, and yet tickles my laughter. My soul turns in disgust at a typo and my nerves cringe at the sound of a grammatical error. The double negative (unless for rhetorical purposes) is my arch enemy. I loathe sentences like, “I don’t have nothing.” In my mind, that implies you have something. But that’s another matter. My point is clear: I love the English language. It’s clean and yet dirty, contradictory and yet harmonious, beautiful and yet ugly. Becoming an English major was the easiest decision of my life.
The problem I run into at this stage, though, is that I’ll no longer be an English major; I’ll be done with college. I’ll have the English degree. I could probably try to start a book club where members gather together over coffee and discuss all our pet peeves about the grammatical carelessness of our society, but I doubt there’d be very many people. And if there were, we’d probably be all so terribly introverted that we might say a few words here and there to each other. We’d probably bust out our laptops and blog back and forth instead of actually talk. But even then, none of us would make a living with our passion. We’d be like a city-league men’s slow-pitch softball team; bitter about how we weren’t good enough to make the big leagues, but yet still needing to scratch that itch.
I say all this to point out one important thing: Don’t let go of your passions. There are seasons, as I am in right now, where you have to fight for them; you have to struggle to keep them alive. A good friend of mine just shared her testimony at Cross Training on Tuesday and one phrase that she left us with has really stood out to me: Do what you love and love what you do. It might be regarded as cliché, but I have found it to be very helpful for the season I’m in. I had gotten somewhat distracted from what I love and therefore had no real drive to do it. And now comes the hard part: Keeping it alive.
Even after I write about what I love and get myself excited again for English grammar and the written word (I’m a nerd, deal with it), I still have no idea what I’m going to do with my life. But that’s a bridge I’ll cross when I get to it. Right now, God wants me to develop a solid, core passion that’ll eventually be the driving and deciding factor to where He takes me. In writing terms, I have to let the story develop.
P.S. This is why I like to write: