…”School’s Out for Summer!” What, don’t recognize the song or line of the famous rocker from my home state? That’s okay I suppose. He actually went to my high school, which is likely its only claim to fame. A man named Alice will definitely have some sort of…interesting personality. This guy sure does, and has done decently well for himself. I can speculate over what he felt as he was going through school, and other stages of life. Did he know that we would be a rockstar, and the steps it would take to get there? School is done period for Alice, but I’m not in the same boat. Frankly, I’m grateful for this fact.
I moved to Dallas a little more than nine months ago with many expectations of what my advancing education would look like, especially in a state that many people said I would never leave if I moved here (and still say that). Relationships with my family and friends changed in some aspect, and it wasn’t simply due to my tangible relocation. My outlook on life has changed since leaving the desert, and I am certain that this change is a process of which I am in the middle of. Alright, so technically I’m only two-fifths complete with my grad work…but you get the picture. Why does this feel so different than where I was four years ago?
Well, four years ago, I was halfway done with my bachelor’s degree. I was a little intrigued and excited, but honestly, I was basically dreading the next two years. Why? I was in the MIDDLE. The middle of a process that seemed to have more negatives than positives, more loopholes for me to fall into regarding school and degree policies, and it was so easy to melt away in isolation amidst the rest of the 65,000+ students on my campus at ASU. I was working toward my third choice of a major (which would change one more time before graduating), and I was in disarray concerning what I would do once I finished my degree. I thought I knew what I was supposed to do with my life, so why was I lost in a maze where confidence of my future was at an all-time low? The MIDDLE.
When someone is in the middle of an process that is intended for self-improvement, frustration and questions tend to appear. The realization of not being totally in control with respect to what happens during or after the process, things that may happen within the process, or dealing with existing in the process for at least the same amount of time you have already dealt with…yeah, I can sympathize with people like that. The difference between four years ago and today is not a change in circumstances that allows me to avoid asking or dealing with those questions. The difference is that I finally appreciate the journey I am on, enough to the point that the issues haunting me as an undergrad now rest in a context that I know more about. That context is a quality called trust, which is something I have taken for granted in the past. I did not know enough about my journey or path to uphold the trust I thought I should have in God for my future. I thought my life was supposed to go from point A to point B, because I knew that I was eventually closing in on point C. Unfortunately, I discovered a troubling reality: my linear mindset was limiting my understanding of God’s presence in and over my life. Why do we need to have point B in our life? That point B gives us order and peace, and being in the middle of a process is usually a time where tranquility is welcomed with open arms.
I am in the middle of a process once again, but I’m okay with my failure to find a point B. Actually, I stopped looking for point B a while ago. When I put aside all of the empirical and academic mumbo-jumbo, and I scope the entire picture of life within the new community I am now a part of, I cannot help but smile. The Father has taken my briefcase jammed with expectations, and smashed it to pieces to create a big mess on a blank canvas that is continuing to form as the paint shifts and moves across the empty background. My new relationships and experiences during the past 270 days, or so, have impacted me from an angle that was definitely in my blind spot. I could not have anticipated being here four years ago, but more impressive still, I could not have anticipated feeling this way four months ago. I am being continually transformed, and my life story has just started. A deep rabbit hole or two may come up along the way…good thing I know an Alice.