Big Sur, California
Holy tomatoes, I can hardly believe that tomorrow is the beginning of September (also when I start "officially" celebrating fall, in an outward sort of way. I've been celebrating in our little apartment for weeks now with pumpkin bread, mulled cider candles, and crockpot chili). I've abandoned writing for the greater part of this month and am finally pulling myself together again to write a little something for you.
I've spent most of the morning writing a post for one of my grad school classes; it's supposed to be a simple discussion board post yet everyone is writing what look to be full-blown scholarly papers so I dove in and tried to do the same. Is this graduate school now? Undergrad discussion boards were a joke, yet here I am stressing over APA citations (APA, 2015). Oh wait, you're not requiring citations from me. Let me wipe the sweat off my brow for a second. My back is aching from sitting in weird positions and pouring over the multiple textbooks I'm required to incorporate into my writing, and honestly it's nice to sit back in a comfortable position and casually write to you while listening to the new Ben Rector album (RUN, do not walk, to get this album immediately. It's beautiful).
My word that I picked for 2015 was endurance, well before I ever decided I was going to attend grad school this year. The word has challenged me in more ways than I imagined it would this year; I sat in a crumpled mess on the couch the other night sobbing, telling Scott that I was probably going to drop out of grad school and that we should find out immediately if we could still get a refund on my tuition. Today, I'm a little more clear headed and am realizing that while it won't be easy, I must endure through this season of working full time and going to school. It's going to take long hours of reading and writing papers, and it's going to mean less time watching Gilmore Girls and baking pumpkin bread, but in the end it will all be for the best.
Did I mention that we're buying a house, too? We're buying a house. In Indianapolis (meaning you should come visit IMMEDIATELY, after October 14th of course). I have a really bad habit of looking at a stack of really good cards and feeling like it's too much for me, like I am just overwhelmed by it all. That's how I'm feeling these days. There's a whole heap of blessing surrounding me and instead of being thankful, I'm complaining. I'm trying to be more conscious of turning to God in praise and thanks when I start to feel that crumply feeling again, but I'm not always very good at that. I've even tried to make a practice out of not complaining or talking negatively at work recently, and on the days that I succeed, it's life-giving. Try it one of these days. It totally transforms your thinking and how you feel about your life/day/week/month.
I think adding a little perspective into the mix has been helping me to endure lately, as well. I was on the phone with my mom yesterday while I was driving home from work and she started telling me about a little girl that she was buying things for who is alone in a hospital in Richmond fighting cancer. She's six years old and sits in the hospital room by herself as the chemo infuses, never visited by her parents or family. I couldn't stop thinking about this for the rest of the night. Laying my judgment aside, I thought about how different my life could look and how ashamed I was of the things that I had been complaining about throughout my day. And I thought about my mom buying little slippers and PJs and toys for this little girl and was pressed with a feeling of how I need more of that in my life. More selflessness and more serving others around me in real, tangible ways. And less of me, less of the complaining and looking at the half empty glass.
That's all I have, really. Just a lot of conviction about the state of my heart and how it needs changing, and how I can't do it on my own. What's on your heart lately, friends? Or what's motivating you to be less selfless, less you-focused? I'd love to hear it.
Lots of love,