"Life is all about not knowing, and doing something anyway."

Saturday, October 31, 2015

In June, I was home in Joliet visiting my parents when I came across a box full of old journals under my bed - 5 or 6 books full of my messy grade school handwriting. Each one documents, in detail, a different phase of my growing up - and the wide range of emotions I felt throughout - from fights with my parents to crushes on boys (many of whom I now consider lifelong friends) to my sweet, innocent, little girl aspirations for the life I had ahead of me.

I spent probably 6 or more hours reading through those journals that weekend and it was exactly as hilarious as you'd imagine to read your own 12, 13, 15-year-old thoughts written down on paper. (Also a little bit cringe-worthy. Why was I so angry all the time?!)

At age 12, for example, my greatest goal for my life was to be a babysitter. I poured my heart out, page after page, about how badly I wanted to babysit, and was absolutely wrung with emotion when my parents told family friends I wasn't old enough yet when they asked me to.

I laughed until I cried at some of my entries, but others were also sort of moving, and brought me a lot of insight. I was surprised to find that many of the dreams I had for myself then are actually still very much the same. It was clear I expected a lot for my future, although I didn't necessarily know what my life would look like or what it meant to feel that way. Even then, I talked about writing as if it was as natural as breathing. It was a weird "woah" moment to read that at age 15, I'd seen myself getting into politics. And look at me now! I think I'd make that awkward JV cheerleader with braces very proud.

I was reminded of that weekend and those journals yesterday when I read this article, which my sweet friend Kinzie posted on Facebook.

Kinzie captioned her post with a quote from the article - "life is all about not knowing, and doing something anyway."

This struck a cord with me.

I suffer from a chronic fear of wasting time. I constantly worry that I'm in the wrong place, or doing the wrong job, or spending time with the wrong people - and every second spent doing something wrong is another second wasted. I believe this mindset is exactly what drove me to leave Loyola University Chicago when I was 18 and what has led to my changing jobs 3 times since graduating college. I am petrified of wasting even so much as a minute in a place I suspect is not the right one for me.

That weekend in June, my old journals comforted me and eased some of these worries I have about my future and the direction I'm headed. As John Boehner recently said in this video of his decision to resign as Speaker of the House, we don't recognize the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives until we're looking at them in retrospect. When I read through my journals, which span nearly 10 years of my life in total, I could see how God's hand was, as Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote, "loving and mysteriously guiding me."

But as a 23-year-old at the forefront of a budding career (with, as some might say, my entire life ahead of me), I still struggle with this. Specifically, I struggle to determine in what capacity I should be pursuing my passions.

Whether it's writing, politics, my Catholic faith - where should I be focusing my energy? How should I be spending my days? What should be paying my bills? And, to add another element to the mix - where should I be living while I do this?

The article that Kinzie posted reminded me of the importance of being present in my own life.

"Life is all about not knowing, and doing something anyway."

Regardless of what my future looks like or what direction I'm headed or even whether or not I'm in a job that's perfect for me, what's important is that I remain present in my day-to-day life, and live each day focused on that day alone - not the ones that are weeks, months, or years ahead.

Luke Chapter 12 asks why we have anxiety over life's big things when we don't even have control over life's smallest things.

And an early translation of Mark 5:36 says, "fear is useless; what is needed is trust."

So I am working, daily, to calm that high-anxiety part of me that wants to know exactly what's coming and when. And every day, I pray for faith in God, His divine providence and His plan.

"Life is all about not knowing, and doing something anyway."

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