The state of things

Red lights glowed and white lights streaked, as every bulb was misted over by dark and hardly-rain after dinner and coffee in Pasadena. We had just seen friends to celebrate a birthday, and a dear friend who moved away a couple years ago was a delight to catch up with even for a little. As my roommate Hayley and I drove home, I thought about the sort of elevator speech that transcends work and personal life.

“What are you up to these days?”

Last weekend seemed to draw out finals week and yet give us enough breath between project/exam/community stress and travel—or rather, commute—and Christmas celebrations. Instead of leaving for winter break Thursday night, we packed up Monday night.

As college students, or just young people, or just people, we’re constantly getting in from a long day, or just a long morning, and realizing how much more adulthood requires of us in preparedness, patience and diligence. As our building emptied of students very ready for a break, we stayed a little longer both to work and to relish the family we have in our church and each other.

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Friday was work for me and break for Hayley. Saturday was work for Hayley and break for me. Sunday was church and grad/family celebrations. Monday was school work for me, self-assigned, and I finally got to see Pitch Perfect. (Worth it.) We’re learning a lot about setting our own boundaries for work and health inside and out, as well as trying to soak in everything we can about the blessing it is to be college roommates.

It’s weird sifting through the very “now” portions of what’s going on. Wondering what will last, but not having much time to dwell on it anyway. Time flies so quickly, and as assignments and responsibilities pick up, we find ourselves unsure while allotting time, energy and heart in various areas. I suppose that’s called prioritizing.

So anyway, back to that elevator speech. The “What are you going to do after graduation?” The “What are you going to do with your life?” and underlying “What are you doing now that will get you there?

What many of my peers are crippling a little under, is a read on that question that trails off, “What are you doing of worth right now?

There’s no linear path for what I want to do or be, and plenty of detours that would include so many things I could want. I always think it’s just a little scary to tell people a few of the hopes I have for the future, aside from expressing how much I am loving in the present. Specifics are what’s difficult.

I looked over at Hayley driving east on the 10 Freeway Monday night in the mist. How is it that sometimes, we can be so sure and succinct about what we want, and see every tie it has to the things we’ve always loved? And yet, two weeks before be so unsure of anything and everything? In two weeks more, it will feel the same.

She didn’t have to look back at me to make me feel heard, and I didn’t have to turn to her to ask her to listen. And I wonder about the unity we feel with time now and times past, and am grateful for the comfort provided in being together. It’s certainly a blessing that’s been refined by time. I don’t want to forget that.

So cheers to looking forward to our last semester of college. Cheers to looking forward to everything, because our God is one whose character never changes, and whose plans are always better. There are so many blessings we never see coming.

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Dorm-hold Christmas card-quality photos taken at the launch of Darling Magazine Issue No. 14. You can see one more goofy one on my Instagram if that’s not where you came from.

Have you ever accelerated onto a freeway on-ramp with one foot in tights and a heel and one foot bare? I can always count on L.A. driving adventures to stretch my agility for hi-jinks…

 

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