When a man has seven children, he develops a certain set of talents, not least of which is the uncanny ability to mimic the sound of a newborn crying. (If you know, you know.) Granted, my dad hasn’t actually had to care for an infant in 14 years, but he’s still got the cry down pat. And as I sat here tonight and brooded about my day/week/month (yes, I’m sorry to say I’ve been brooding an awful lot here lately), I realized dad’s impression of an unhappy newborn was the best caricature of me and my whole attitude toward all the difficult situations in my life right now. I wish I had an audio clip–I’d definitely share it. But a picture helps, get the point across too:
(Of course this kid’s a lot cuter than my balding, mustached, bespectacled father, but they censor those kinds of images, so I’ve had to make do.) One of my colleagues stopped by my office this morning to discuss a project we’re working on together, and I’m afraid that’s about how I must have looked. It’s certainly how I felt. He finished his instructions and left in a hurry. The word must have got out, too, because people gave my office a pretty wide berth for the rest of the day.
In all seriousness, though, this has been a time of great stress, yes, and a few pretty big disappointments, but it’s been a time of much growth, too. I have to be honest: I’m not looking forward to the impending changes in my life. I like the way things are, I’m comfortable and happy, and since I can’t think of any improvements, I’m convinced that things are only going to get worse from here. And yet I’m being constantly surprised by these little blessings–things like a random phone call from my roommate-to-be yesterday afternoon, or going out for lunch with my sister, or last-minute cancellations of appointments that leave me suddenly with a free hour.
Today marked a pretty big disappointment, which I won’t go into. Suffice it to say, I learned a little bit more today about the way we go about accepting the will of God in our lives. It’s a daily thing and a daily lesson, but some days you feel it so much more keenly than others. Today in particular I realized there’s nothing actually noble or strong or even brave about that deeply Christian act of surrender–it comes across as noble, I suppose, because it goes against our human tendencies, but in reality it’s nothing more than rational.
Think about it. As long as I keep my eyes screwed shut and my fists clenched around whatever object it is I’m holding, I’m like a helpless, screaming infant. Only since I’m 25, I insist that I’m an adult, rational, capable of seeing and understanding things and situations, capable of making decisions, expressing desires, and exerting control. It’s a funny image, isn’t it? That screaming, clawing, craven baby asserting herself and trying to maintain control of…well, the whirlwind that is her life?
So the only rational thing to do is to let go. I’ve never had any real control, I’m just always telling myself (maybe not in so many words, but it amounts to the same thing) that I have. And somehow I’m always surprised and terrified–and maybe even a little bit indignant–when it all falls apart. But it sends me scrambling back to the One who can put it all back together again and make it right. Maybe that’s all He had in mind, anyway.