GOD, your God, has blessed you in everything you have done. He has guarded you in your travels through this immense wilderness. For forty years now, GOD, your God, has been right here with you. You haven’t lacked one thing. Deuteronomy 2:7 (MSG)
I’ve been quiet since I graduated. I’ve started writing this post dozens of times… well, at least I’ve thought about starting it. I kept putting it off because I knew it would be difficult. Putting all of these things into actual words might hurt. But maybe, like the rain that we so desperately needed is falling outside my window to revive the fields, writing this will revitalize my spirit.
I’ve had the tendency to look at the world through rose-colored glasses. The glass is half-full. And I’ll have a job before I graduate. No sweat.
But I moved home with some job leads and a reality that I could be moving to Washington, D.C. in a few weeks.
I’m still here. Half of my life and all of my tea is still boxed away in the basement. And it’s free rent, so no arguments there. But it’s been hard to keep playing Pollyanna. I’ve been called out by my family for my attitude, which is not a new thing, but not something that happens frequently.
I’ve struggled being home for the longest time ever in a year and half. I’ve struggled watching my classmates get jobs. I’ve struggled with the deafening silence that meets most of my job applications. I’ve struggled with entry-level positions that want 3 years of experience. I’ve struggled with the uncertainty of making long-term plans. I’ve struggled with not having a job for the first time in six years.
I’ve applied to 63 jobs.
I’m plagued with questions from myself and others. What do you want to do? What are you looking for? Have you looked here? Here? Here? Are your standards too high?
Waiting. Applying. E-mailing.
The church I attended in college (Oh Commonway, how I miss you.) did a sermon series on Moses over the summer. And I was listening to one titled The Land Between in which Pastor Matt spoke on the 40 years the Israelites wandered in the desert. And I thought to myself, “Yes, that’s where I am.”
I’m just wandering around. Not in the wilderness but in the Land ‘o Goshen. Though some may say they’re the same thing.
Someday, somewhere, I know that the Promise Land (see: job) lies in my future. Not a dream job. But at least a purpose. Something to wake up for in the morning. I’m waiting for positive responses to my applications like waiting for answers to come down from Mount Sinai.
Over dramatic? Maybe. But these waves of melancholy tend to leave me as such. And like the Israelites, despite all of the blessings God has given me, I too, have found it hard to trust Him.
It’s been so easy to get discouraged. Doubtful. What have I done with my summer? How is it already August?
And I don’t have any answers. I don’t know why I’m still here, unemployed, half-scared to be stuck in Goshen forever and half-scared to leave. And it’s been easy to mark my entire summer off as a failure. I forget about the manna. I’m missing the forest for the trees. Those silver linings have tarnished. I’m missing how God has been providing for me. Some I’ve pushed aside—forgetting to pause and appreciate the sunflowers that have been given to me this summer, and some that will come into focus when I move out of this season of my life.
I was able to see two high school friends and a cousin get married this summer because I’ve been home. I’ve attended bachelorette parties, bridal showers, and baby showers because I am home. I was able to go meet my pen pal from Ontario and attend her wedding because I didn’t have a job to work around. I was able to visit MBZ in Crown Point because my weeks were free. I was able to hang out with my brother and sister-in-law when they came home for July 4th because I was still at home. I was able to make a new friend because I am home. I’ve had adventures with my mom because I am home. I’ve taken MBZ all over Goshen when she’s visited her beau because I’m still in Goshen. I could do a round of Whole 30 with my parents because I am home. I could go on an overnight shopping adventure in Schaumburg, IL with my sister because I am home and don’t have a job.
These are some of my summer Ruth Blessings. When Naomi returned to Bethlehem with Ruth, her daughter-in-law, she became Mara, bitter. But, cultural issues about not having a male provider aside, I always felt like Ruth was slighted in this change of Naomi’s. Ruth stayed by her side and through her presence God continued to bless Naomi. Ruth gleaned in the fields. Ruth found a provider and protector. Ruth gives her a grandbaby.
“He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.” Ruth 4:15 (ESV)
More to you than seven sons.
Sometimes, you just don’t know what something can grow into. Like those people you pick out and decide to just spend a lot of time with… you know, friends.
I’ve been blessed with friends who are always up for long chats. Phone. Facetime. Texting. Coffee at the Brew. Bubble tea on courthouse steps. I am blessed with a group of girls who all revive my spirit in unique and different ways. When my worries, anxieties, and my inability to pause because I run around like a wind-up car—in uncertain paths and running into the occasional wall. Or a solar-powered hula dancing girl. They hold the key to wind me back up. They are the sun that recharges my wiggle. The Ruth to my Mara (babies not necessary).
So I’m continuing to hula along. I’ve decided it’s time to settle in. Who knows, I might be here for awhile. That tea may be unpacked. September 1st, I’ll head to the temp agency and see what jobs I can find. I’m finding a Sunday School to belong to. I’m considering volunteering with middle school or junior high girls. I’ll begin to cultivate a life in the Land ‘o Goshen. To try and become content.
“Where you tend a rose, my lad, a thistle cannot grow.” – The Secret Garden
And besides, I’m not alone. Though sometimes it’s hard to believe.
“God, I’m sick of this, but I’m going to trust that you see what I’m going through. I’m gonna trust that you’re with me even in this.” – Matt Carder, Pastor at Commonway Church, Muncie, Indiana
This has been a crazy-long post, and thanks for making it through the analogies, cliches, and idioms. And the general crazy word-vomiting of my soul. I’ve had three months of angsty roller-coaster thoughts to work through. We’ll take a lighter turn for the next few posts… including a recap on my trip to Canada! 🙂