Today was my last day of work in the lovely world of rebind. And I’m essentially free for the next week. I have to go into school a few times next week-although I don’t know when. I know that I have to head out to GV for a few hours next week. And I need to be in my classroom setting up for my students.
But for now, I’m free to relax and rejuvenate. But it’s an odd freedom, the sort of freedom to which I am slowly becoming accustomed. I don’t know what’s coming next and that makes me nervous and even nauseous at times. But at the same time, it’s a good opportunity for me to practice trusting God. It’s something I struggle with, but nevertheless, it’s something that makes my life better when I do it.
I occasionally quote Douglas Adams who once said that “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” Now, I’m pretty positive that Mr. Adams did not believe in God. But that quotation defines my relationship with God over the past year.
A year ago today, I expected that by now I would be a college graduate and would probably be starting a job as a middle school/high school Spanish teacher. I figured I’d be all moved out of the parents’ house. I had plans. In my mind, I was going places.
But God laughed at those plans and spent a year showing me what it meant to die to myself and learn to live according to his will. As Dante said, “In God’s will is our peace.”
Yeah…his will. It didn’t involve what I thought I should be doing. Spanish, apparently, was not where I was called. That was made infinitely clear to me-and it is something that I struggle to explain to others. God has closed, nay, slammed a door. It is not to be opened again. And as I spent time exploring English and education, I found that God was calling me in that direction. He was giving me joy in that area of my life, something that I had not been experiencing while following my plans. Joy is something that I crave and yet struggle to find; I was deriving joy from reading Flannery O’Connor and writing about vampires.
“Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.” -Teilhard de Chardin
God was present to me in those moments of wondering why I was doing what I was doing. Why couldn’t I pass the OPI? Why was I suddenly changing my major when all I wanted to do was graduate? And why was I so peaceful and joyful about these things? Why wasn’t I heartbroken or angry (like many of my classmates and peers thought I ought to be) about the sudden change in my plans and redirection of my life?
I fully believe that the answer is God. I have spent the past two (or more, maybe) years asking the Lord on a daily basis to empty me of myself and fill me until only he remains. And I think that this is a prayer that he has been answering throughout the past year. He has taken away something that was once very precious to me and replaced it with something better.
And it is not merely taking away my desire to be a Spanish teacher. In these changes, he has shown me what love is, what fidelity is. Not everyone I know understands these changes in my life, in my plans. But regardless, I know that this is the plan of God, of the God who knows me, loves me and cares for me. Numerous times, I have been reminded that this God I love and worship is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob-and my God. He is love. He is freedom.
And he is not freedom as the world knows freedom. Like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob-and Moses and David and Felicity and Perpetua and Teresa Benedicta of the Cross and Francis of Assisi, I have been called away from the world and the self so that I may know, love, and serve the Lord, my Lord. I have been asked to surrender my plans and to surrender to his will.
But as Dante said, “In God’s will is our peace.”
I have not been called to live for myself. I was not made to live for myself. I was made for Love. As C.S. Lewis once said, ”We were not made primarily that we may love God (though we were made for that) but that God may love us, that we may become objects in which the Divine love may rest ‘well-pleased.’”
I greatly desire that the Divine love rest well-pleased in me, that the Lord looks at me and says “It is very good.”
St. Paul put it best in his letter to the Romans when he said, “For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.” (Romans 14:7-8)
I am the Lord’s. I am called to be a vessel of the Divine Love, the Love that humbled itself to become Man and offered itself on a cross as the ransom for all humanity.
This is freedom. This is the freedom for which I was made and the freedom which I desire to possess.
So while this may be a somewhat scary statement, whatever lies ahead, bring it on. May God’s will be done in me and through me at all times.