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Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Bigger Purpose


Once upon a time I applied to grad school.  Like, once upon a time, two weeks ago.  To one grad school.  My top choice grad school.  So, I sent my application out, sat back and waited patiently.  For two weeks. Then (and only then) I got a wild hair to Google, “Chances of getting into an MFA Creative Writing program.”  Basically, the news was that, had I applied to Harvard medical school or Harvard Law, I would have stood a better chance. 

That awkward moment when you realize you've been painfully naive.  Why or how I did not quite understand the low probability of acceptance, I don't know.  How did I not know this when three years ago I chose English Lit as my major - the end goal in mind, grad school. 

I have no Plan B.  Thus far, in my life, I've found nothing I want to do other than write.  And yes, I can write without a Master's, but I can't teach without one.  And I suppose that teaching was really already my Plan B.  Plan A, originally being, to study what excited me for as long as possible while honing my craft.

The bigger point in all of this , the reason I'm writing about it, really doesn't have much to do with the somewhat horrifying notion that I better come up with a backup plan for life.  No, the thing, triggered is the "God thing".  The God thing that has tormented my mind for life.  

Praying last night only for His will, I found myself in Eeyore -esque  fashion bemoaning that, "It's alright.  God probably doesn't want me in grad school."  Can you hear the long, slow, pitiful tone here?  "He has it reserved for someone else.  It's okay."  

Then another voice of every prosperity preacher I've ever had the misfortune of listening to,  melded into one, starts yelling at me like a gym teacher, "God wants you to be expectant!  That's what pleases Him most!  Name it!  Claim it!  Let's go! "  I'm panting and that voice is shaking its head, warning that if I don't get in, it's just proof of my lack of faith.  Then, there sits God, arms crossed, waiting.  Waiting for my faith to pronounce itself.  He's surveying all applicants and those with the most faith win.  That's one version.  Another is where the one with the most virtue wins.  Or whoever prays the most.  Take your pick.  

With me, it always comes back to this fear - that there's a popularity contest with God, and I'm at the bottom of his favorites list.  He sits judge of a pageant and we parade in with talents and testaments of purity.  First place takes the prize.  Yep, God's gonna give whatever I want to someone more deserving.  And furthermore, shame on  me for even wanting anything.

I immediately run down the procession of unanswered prayers in my life.  A few, I can see now, were for my good , but several still hang in the balance of all enigma, placed in a category labeled, "You'll find out when you get to Heaven - Dont Waste Your Sorrows:!"

I'm well aware my theological understandings are just a little messed up.  So, I start chanting the Serenity Prayer and remind myself not that He will give me the desires of my heart but that all things work together for those who love Him.  Then I worry I don't love Him enough.  I stifle that thought and concentrate on the 'work together' part and begin sharpening my trusting skills.  I make mental note that one purpose in all of this might be the awareness I'm experiencing on this "God thing" that I had though I had grown away from.  


I joke with myself that my naivete actually substantiates the fact of my childlike faith...and that has to increase my points.  Returning to a less serious view of myself, I tell myself, Well, this will just be my practice run.  

I turn the radio way up when Alanis Morissette's Hand in my Pocket plays and I choose to believe that.  That right there is God speaking to me.  That's the God I get.  The God I love.  The one who says to me, "...everything's going to be fine, fine, fine, 'cause I've got one hand in my pocket and the other one is giving a high five..."

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