Alright, classes are starting, assignments are already here. As I embark on my master’s degree, I want to re-center and remind myself why I am doing this. I am working to glorify and honor my Lord, who has done so much for me. May my work be pleasing to him, and may he find me a willing and faithful servant. I think my theme verse for this period in my life is Psalm 90:12 and 17. “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us–yes, establish the work of our hands.” I pray that God would teach me to savor my days and to gain a heart of authentic wisdom. I know I do not yet have this wisdom, but I do know what it looks like. James 3:17 says, “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” I want to display that kind of wisdom. I want to be like the woman in Proverbs 31:26: “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” May the Lord hear my prayer.
Continuing the Deep Thoughts series, I was driving back up to Taylor from Louisville and had a lot of time to think. And this time, I thought about greatness. Tell me if you’ve ever experienced this. Perhaps you’ve seen an epic movie or read a moving book, and something in you longs to be great. To be something more than who you are right now. And not just that…to be something more than anyone thinks you could be. To be astonishing. I experience that every once in a while. I’m feeling it now. Sometimes it feels like a spark inside, brief and bright, and other times it feels like a gnawing ache. I believe this longing to attain greatness is part of what it means to be a human made in God’s own image. It is the echo of the divine resounding in each one of us, whether we recognize it or not. Therefore, I don’t believe this longing is wrong. I sometimes felt as if it was prideful of me to desire to make something of myself, to strive. Who am I to think I could be someone great? I am no Mother Theresa, no Jim Elliot, no Nelson Mandela. But here’s where it all comes together. If I long to be great for my own sake, to have my name remembered, I will never be satisfied. But if I long to be great for someone else’s sake…that’s a different story. If I long to be great for the sake of Christ, for his glory and his fame, then I believe I will find greatness in this life. I will find it in the huge sacrifices, as well as the small. I will find it as I impact thousands, and as I impact just one. I will find it when I strive–whether I strive as an international ambassador for justice or as a 9-5 blue collar worker. I love how Helen Keller said it. “I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble.” And if I long to be great for the sake of my Lord, my life will matter. It will have eternal significance and a glory all it’s own. The longing for greatness is there to pull me out of my smallness and into God’s vast and unbounded resources. The longing itself gives me just a taste of heaven, where I will finally be what God created me to be. Something great.
Sorry about the absence… I was enjoying J-term break at home with the family and didn’t have the urge to write on this blog. Sometimes holidays should include taking a break from things that aren’t strictly work, right? Anyway, I am now back in tropical Upland, Indiana, and ready to start my first semester as a grad student. I’ll update you in a couple weeks about how I’m handling that.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. About life and death, about regret, and about the future. Light and easy topics, you know. I have a lot of regrets concerning my grandmother, who died years ago. I wish I had treated her differently after my grandfather died. I was only a child, and I really had no way of understanding what was going on, but looking back now I see a lonely, terrified woman whose own mind was betraying her. A woman who longed to know if her family still wanted her, if it mattered whether she lived or died. A woman who could not accept the ways my mom showed her love, and always needed more. More reassurance, more time, more sympathy. I wish I could talk with her now that I am older and can better understand what she was going through.
When I started this blog entry, the title just stood for apologizing about my absence. I didn’t know what I would end up writing about. And now, I wish I could apologize to my grandmother for my impatience, my callousness, my lack of empathy. I can’t go back and do that. I can’t change the past. But I’m different now; I’m changed now. And I want to take the lessons I learned and do better next time for someone else who needs my understanding and sympathy. I’m sorry, Grandma. Here are my apologies.