Watering My Own Grass (and no, this is not a reference to weed)
“The grass is always greener on the other side, so water your own damn lawn!” my friend told me the other day (in the most loving way, of course). As I think about this piece of wisdom and trying to find contentment in my own life, I’m grateful for the reminder to cultivate what I do have, and seize the current opportunities offered to me in this season of life. In this season of trying to figure out what to do next as I consider applying to Ph.D. programs, I sometimes feel a bit fidgety as I anticipate the next step. While there are great opportunities arising in the present in building deeper relationships with the community around me, and opportunities for ministry arise, this question of career and what I need to be doing with my life still seems so prevalent, as it is for many recent grads.
It’s a question that is difficult to avoid when people ask what I’m going to do with two master’s degrees. And yet, as I reflect on the education I’ve received (as this was not something I really planned, and it just seemed to happen as God opened the doors), I’m grateful for the experience of graduate school. I’m thankful not just for gaining more head knowledge about God and theology, but the transformative and healing process of experiencing Christ’s love in the midst of seeing my own brokenness. And while I’m not exactly sure what career this will lead to, I’d never trade the experience for anything. It was all worth it.
Yet, I still find myself here, post-graduation, wondering where this will all lead to. And sometimes, I see glimpses of where perhaps it will go, but it is difficult living in this period of waiting. Since I’m a planner, I usually create five-year plans for myself, and yet, every time, it seems that God takes me along another path, one that I would’ve never imagined for myself, but one that is better than I could’ve ever expected. So now, as I wait, I reflect on this prayer by Thomas Merton that has been so comforting to me in the past:
The Road Ahead by Thomas Merton
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I am following
your will does not mean
that I am actually doing so.
But I believe the desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this,
you will lead me by the right road ahead though
I may know nothing about it
Therefore, will I trust you always
though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.