Echoes, Silence, Patience, and Grace

Here we go again.

I really despise the way I get all excited about something, and talk about it as though the decision has been made, and then change my mind.  I’m afraid everyone will think…well, I don’t know what they will think.  But I’m afraid of what they will think.

Mike said something to me tonight.  He said, “You never know what will happen in your life.  You can’t predict everything.  So don’t think about two years from now, or ten years from now.  Think about now.  If you want to go for your masters, do it.  If you want to get a different job, that’s what you should do.  If you want to keep everything exactly the same, you should.”

As usual, I think I just want something different.  I don’t necessarily want a different job.  I don’t necessarily want to keep my same job.  I don’t necessarily want to get a masters right now.  I just want a change.  I just want to be different.  I think I’m guilty of the sin of discontent.  Is discontent a sin?  Maybe it’s related to greed.  Always wanting more, wanting what I know is not good for me, wanting what I know I don’t need.

In reality, I think it’s wanting one thing, and trying to satisfy that desire with something else.  I want be a wife and mom.  You can’t exactly take specific steps in that direction, can you?  So I’m trying to satisfy that desire with something else that sounds exciting to me.  I’m not making choices based on wisdom, I’m using the basis of a craving.  I want to satisfy this deep desire, though the only thing that can satisfy it, I can’t have right now.

I once heard a piece of advice about making choices.  I think it was an author or spiritual minister of some kind on the Christian radio station.  He said that when we are making a big decision, the logical thing to do seems to be thinking about the possible outcomes.  But the truth is, we are reminded, we don’t know how our choices will really turn out.  So he says the wiser thing to do is to think about our motives.  Why do we want this choice?  Why do we want the other choice?  When we look honestly at our motives, the right choice for us may become clear.

So let’s test this out, based on some past choices I’ve made.  Why did I want to marry someone who wanted to control me?  Because he wanted to marry me.  Because I wanted to get married, and I was afraid if I said no to him, no one else would ask.  So, because of fear, because of lack of trust, of faith.  My motive was fear.  Clearly, that motive does not point to a wise choice.  And it would definitely not have been a wise choice!

Example number two.  I wanted to get involved in my church.  I didn’t, for a long time, because I was afraid of the people being too different from me, afraid of what my non-churchy friends would think, just plain afraid of the unknown.  Fear, again.  But I wanted to get involved to meet people who love God as much as I do, to find ways to grow in my faith, and just because I needed more friends here.  My motives were my need for others and my need for God.  Those motives, in my mind, point to a wise choice.  And being involved in my church has been a good choice.

The theory seems to be solid.  Let’s try it with these unknown decisions.  Why do I want a masters?  Because I think it will make me a better teacher.  But that’s a possible outcome.  Why do I want a masters?  Or, why do I want a masters now?  Because I can’t have what I really want.  Moving forward in my career is my number two.

Why do I want to change jobs?  Because I want to work closer to where I live.  Because starting and ending each work day traveling across the city on crowded interstates adds to my stress, not my happiness.  Because when I serve as a teacher, I want to serve my own community.  Why would I really like that job to be at a Catholic school?  Because I want to serve in a way that I can help my students grow in their faith at the same time.

And why do I want this right now?  All together now, because I can’t have what I really want!!!  🙂

But it’s not that I can’t have what I really want, is it?  I can.  I have faith.  I am sure of what I hope for, certain of what I don’t yet see.  I just can’t have it right now.  So I want something else, right now, to fill that desire.  The ultimate motive in all of this?  Impatience.

It’s not that working towards a masters or getting a job closer to where I live or a job in a Catholic school would be a bad choice.  It’s just that my motive for wanting those things might make it an unwise choice.  When my motive is something purer than impatience, maybe it will be a wise choice.

Do I want a different job?  No, not really.  I love my job.  If only I could move this job closer to this area…  And the desire to work in a Catholic school is going to get me one of these days, I know it.  Do I want to work toward my masters?  I don’t know.  Still to think about.  It would suck up a lot of my free time.  I wouldn’t have time for so much involvement at church.  I wouldn’t have the freedom to go to a yoga class once in awhile.  It probably wouldn’t even be worth it to belong to the gym.  Worst of all, I’m afraid I would officially be a “career woman” instead of the “mama woman” that I want to be.  It’s not one or the other, teaching or mothering, I know that.  The women at work, the ones who have pursued more education quickly, who strive for better positions and higher positions, those are the career women.  The women who wait on graduate work, who are satisfied to teach a classroom of kids, who put their priority on their own children, who do their work very well but put it second…they are also happy.  Maybe more so.  And they are the “mama women” that I want to emulate.  Not because the career women are wrong, but because that’s not the right path for me.

So, we’re going to call this period of time “waiting” and “growing in patience.”  Echoes, Silence, Patience, and Grace, to quote a Foo Fighters lyric.  The echoes of things hoped for.  The silence I need to be, to hear God and hear my own heart.  Patience.  And the grace to accept with joy whatever comes.  The song is called “Home.”  How fitting.

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