I sit here, Celtic music playing on my Pandora, books and folders and a planner on the couch beside me. My semester to-do list is laid out in my mind much like the never ending papers you see unfold on cartoons. I try to find inspiration and motivation to do my work; I walk outside; I flip through the T.V. channels for a little break; I get a snack; I check Instagram; I find a quote on Pinterest; I’m incredibly bored with the process. Do not get me wrong, I am thankful I get the chance to go to school every day; I love learning. However, after being in school for the last almost sixteen years, I’m reading for next December to come. I’m ready for the Dean to give me a pretty paper that says “You Did IT! Your hard work paid off!” That feeling, however, lasts for all of five seconds before I’m partially sad because my last official first football game is this Saturday. I mean, I’ll have another football season during my student teaching, but that won’t be the same as going to classes every day. This Saturday will be my last first tailgating party, walking around taking pictures with our mascot, drinking beer (heavy on the Root… aka Root Beer) with my friends, and generally acting silly as our team either 1) makes a touchdown – this actually happens or 2) the other team intercepts a throw and runs all the way to a touchdown – happens a lot more than I prefer to claim. Whether I am feeling agitated with the never-ending list of homework or I am gloomy because my last real college football season is starting, I am constantly aware that in a year and a half, I will start a new chapter in my life.
This new chapter, like any other chapters in life, can be compared to the ground, waiting for someone to come and plant seeds. Close your eyes and imagine, freshly tilled dirt, soft and cool; the dirt almost feels wet because of its softness, yet it is not squishy like mud. If you have not felt the sensation of curling your toes in the softened Earth, I suggest you do so. As much as I love sand, the feeling of curling your toes in sand is quite different than curling your toes in dirt. There is of course, the fact that your toenails will be lined with the color of coffee. The uneven dirt, soft from the blades twisting and turning through it, rocks lining the edge where the dirt meets the grass, is a captivating picture of refreshment somehow. It brings thoughts of renewal and a fresh start.
Before I continue, please realize that I have quite the imagination. From the age of eight till I graduated high school I had eighty acres of land to run and play on. Not to mention that I was the only child, so playing included a lot of made-up characters. As I have matured, my imagination no longer creates my playmates. Nonetheless, my imagination does have a part in how I perceive the world, and most importantly, how I perceive God. If the way I portray Him offends you, please realize that is not my intention. I believe God reveals himself to us in the way we can accept Him; sometime, I may write a post on just that. Until then though, let us get back to the new chapter and the garden of life.
During this time, with the new chapter in sight, but just a measure out of reach, I find myself repeatedly crying out with a restless heart. “God, I’m ready!” I present my case with self-satisfaction lacing my words. “Look at all the work I’ve done. I am working my rear off over here. I am rich in knowledge. Look what I can do!” Before I finish justifying my actions, I see God in several different scenarios (remember, I have a great big imagination, and a great big God that allows me to use it to help me through the hard times).
My big black Momma God:
Handing me a plate of fresh, warm peach cobbler with a big round spoonful of ice cream, she shakes her head. “Dear me, honey-child… You think you’re ready? You can’t even see what’s ahead. Bless your heart.” Patting a hand over her heart, “This isn’t quite up to the challenge of the next chapter baby.”
My slightly darker than we imagine, plaid shirt, dirt-stained jeans, loving, but slightly sarcastic God:
His pants are rolled up, shoes laying next to him on the side of the deck, a fishing pole in his hand, his feet splashing lightly in the water, “You going to ever come and sit by me?”
Surprised, I walk towards him, “What are you doing? Shouldn’t you be busy, doing…. I don’t know, something?”
“Doing something? Are you serious? I’m relaxing. I’ve been working all day long!” then he slightly mumbles “someone is a little stubborn.”
I pipe up, wondering who was causing God such an abundant amount of trouble, “Who’s the pain this time Lord?”
That little smirky grin of His starts curling up the sides of His mouth, “You…”
“I’ve been working on your heart… That thing, well, let’s just say that gold miners digging through desert sand have more success.”
I’ll stop my imagination there, because honestly, I could go on for hours thinking like that. The whole point of it is this, more times than I can count I feel like I’m ready for the next challenge. I’m much like Anna on Frozen getting ready to jump the cliff with Kristoff: “You tell me when, I’m ready to go… I was born ready! Yes!” All the while, God is all:”Calm, down.” He knows my heart is not really ready. The dirt is still hard from all of the things planted from the last chapter. He is still breaking through the rocks, pulling out the weeds, and cleaning up the old plants.
As much as I am eager for the next chapter of my life, I am grasping the fact that God knows the best timing. You will have a hard time planting seeds in a piece of land that is not plowed and cleaned out. When my heart is freshly tilled and ready for a new seeds, God will turn the last page of this part of my life and will start writing on the next page.