Thursday, May 31, 2012

Waiting Room

Carla slowly turned around as she took in her new surroundings.  She stood in a stark white enclosed room bordered by innumerable doors.  Each door gleamed a different color, and a small sign labeled the contents therein.  Career.  Family.  School.  Travel.  Couch Potato.  Leech.  Hole In Sand.  Party Lights.  Cardboard Box.  Childhood.  Friends.  Alternate Life.  The choices seemed endless as she continued to swivel in her comfortable chair.  So this is it.  This is where my future is decided.  How do I know which door to choose?
A gentle voice behind her caused her to jump up.  "You don't know.  Alone, all you can do is guess.  Each door leads to a possible future.  Whether it is your next destination on the eternal plan, you cannot know without help."
Carla was positive she hadn't spoken aloud, but she turned towards the voice and asked, "What is this help?"  She raised her hand to shield her eyes from the shining light and called out, "I can't see you.  How do I know you're there?"
"You have other senses than sight, have you not?  Senses that course through your entire being beyond the simple external five.  What do these senses tell you?"
Carla closed her eyes for a moment, trying to discern the deeper trust in her faith of the divine.  "That You exist.  That You are here with me even though I cannot see Your face.  And that You are the answer to all of my troubles.  Please.  Tell me what to do."
She felt rather than saw His smile as He said, "Carla, my child, it is simple.  Follow Me.  That is what you must do."
Her heart sank as she complained, "But what should I do specifically?  Which of these doors opens onto the next step for my path?  How do I decide?"
"Talk it out for Me, and you will realize the answer you have always had within your soul."
"But it would be so much easier if You would just tell me."
"Since when has My way been about the easy way out?" He admonished her.
Carla bowed her head in submission.  She rubbed her temples and began to work it out.  "I suppose the first step is discernment of your vocation.  Check.  Mine's marriage and motherhood.  But I can't just jump through the Family door.  I haven't even got the meager beginnings of my own as of yet."
"Correct so far.  This room, then, is the 'waiting' room.  It is where you discover what your purpose on life is between childhood and fulfilling your vocation."
"How long am I stuck in this interim?"  He did not answer.  "I suppose that's for You to know and me to find out."  Again she felt His smile and groaned inwardly.  I always knew He had a strange sense of humor.  But she stopped because she remembered how He could read her thoughts.  "Ok.  So I have to decide, or rather discover, what my interim singlehood is for."  Carla sat back down and tucked her knees under her chin.  The door choices swirled before her closed eyes as she tried to figure out the correct decision.  "I don't know!" she finally cried out.  "At least, I can't know without Your help.  Please help me!"  Her prayer for guidance did not go unanswered.
"All you need do is trust My path and stay alert for the signs which I will send.  They will guide you through the days ahead."
"But how will I know what these signs are?" Carla asked, but she received no answer.  Trial and error, I suppose.  Mixed with a bit of prayer and a large helping of faith.  The next time she opened her eyes, Carla was in her bed once more.  A car horn blew outside as birds heralded the new day.  As she prepared for work, her dream played over in her mind.  "Fine," she whispered.  "I'll try to watch."  As she ran out the door, Carla had no idea how much faith in God's plan could change her life.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Blind Faith

When God basically hands you a notice signed and delivered saying “This is the next step,” it’s incredible.  Inevitably, however, that’s also the time when the devil will put doubts in the back of your mind.  Should things be falling into place this easily?  Should I really be abandoning all the possibilities surrounding me right now?  Am I really supposed to jump without knowing why?
Lately a few people have been questioning my decision to attend law school in the fall (as well as the particular school I chose.)  First off, I suppose I should illustrate the reasons behind my decision.
Don’t ever make a bet with God.  If you say you will NEVER do something, most likely, you’ll end up doing just that.  I would never have considered law school unless, maybe, if I was ditzy enough to believe real-life law school was anything like Legally Blonde.  But due to strong suggestion from several people, I grudgingly agreed to take the LSAT and go from there.  I “studied”, i.e. basically took 2 practice tests and looked through a prep-book, for three weeks before the exam.  Taking the actual test was amazing.  I wasn’t stressed even though everyone else around me was freaking out like, I don’t know, their entire life was riding on the test.  When I got my scores back, I was impressed.  I’d done pretty well, especially considering my preparation, or rather the lack thereof.  So the next step, since God had given me a good score, was to actually apply to school.  I put it off for a few months until I finally submitted 4 applications in January.  At that time, I said if God wanted me at law school, would He please give me a full ride so that I would know for sure.  Three weeks later, I heard back from my current destination school with a full scholarship offer.  In the moment that I read the exciting words, I knew deep down that this was where God was calling me next.  I still can’t explain it, and I probably never will be able to do so.
I am not excited about law school.  I have no clue why God wants me there.  I know He’s got a plan, but I don’t know anything but the immediate destination.  A detailed layout would be lovely, but I have to simply leap on faith.  I know that this is what’s next.  Maybe it’s a trial by fire (or heat, as the case may be.)  Maybe it’s a test of faith.  Maybe it’s a chance for me to develop my faith further.  Maybe it’s a 3 year commitment.  Maybe it’s only for 6 months.  God alone knows.  All I can do is pray for the strength to keep my faith in Him.
Anyways, like I mentioned before, when you’re following God’s plan, inevitably there will occur numerous “road blocks” that the Devil sends your way.  In my case, there are the people who remind me (with every good intention, of course) that I don’t “have” to go.  Or the people who question my choice of school because it’s insanely difficult to get a job of any sort after graduation with a diploma from there.  Or who question the choice of law school in general if I really want to study or pursue something else entirely.  Trying to explain to a very realistic and prudent person the reasons why I’m heading to school gets difficult because all I can say is that I know the Holy Spirit is guiding me there.  I know that’s enough, but it’s still hard.  
Furthermore, what so many people fail to realize is that I don’t care about having an amazing work career.  I know that my vocation is to the married life and motherhood whenever God decides that’s the next step.  To get from point A to point B, I’m perfectly content working as a secretary or a nanny.  Sure, I’d love to make a nice bundle of money each year, but it’s not necessary.  I know that having a good income is extremely helpful, especially if you’re living on your own.  But it’s not the most important thing in life.  Of course, for a guy it’s probably different.  They need to set up the good job so that they can support any future dependents.  
I am intending to research other graduate schools and take the next year to study for the GRE, take it as soon as possible, and apply to schools for a Masters program in English.  I would absolutely love to study more literature, but I can’t afford to just begin paying boat loads of money for classes.  So perhaps that’s another reason why I’m headed to law school.  I can live basically for free for the next year and delve deeper into my other school possibilities.
I try not to question God’s plan, but I can’t help it sometimes.  Especially when, just a few short weeks before I’m set to leave, I begin making friends and realizing just how amazing life could be if I stayed in my current area.  But maybe that’s the point.  Maybe I begin these friendships now so that if I return, I’ve already got my foot in the door so to speak.  If I’m being honest, I’m slightly terrified.  I’m moving 1400 miles from my family and 1100 miles from my closest friends to a place where I don’t know anybody to a part of the country with weather I absolutely dread.  There are so many specifics that have yet to be settled.  The only way I am still cheerful about this next step is that I still believe, without a doubt, that it’s where God is sending me.  I know that everything will work out, but knowledge does not always dispense with fear.  And maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be.  Pushing forward into the unknown despite the fear in order to sincerely and truly place complete trust in God.  
Everyone talks about how much I’ll love it down there.  How much good I can do as a Catholic female lawyer in our modern society.  How well I will do in my studies.  How proud they are of me.  How much they believe in my impending achievements.  How impressed they are by how blessed my law school plans have been.  All I know is that I’m leaving everything I have ever known and beginning something entirely new.  And it scares me so much.  So, to anyone who actually finished reading this, please pray for me.  Knowing God’s plan is one thing.  Having the courage and strength to follow it blindly is something else entirely.  I know there is so much I have yet to learn about who I really am and what my life on earth is for.  I simply hope and pray that I can continue my trust in God and keep my eyes and heart open to whatever plans He sends my way.