There comes a point in every person’s life, I think, when they learn to laugh at their mistakes, or at least develop an understanding that they’re not perfect and that they’re going to make them. I realize I talk about this a lot, about not being perfect. But it’s so important to see this truth in a world where we kind of expect people to be super human, or more than they could ever be, in order to meet a need or fulfill a dream. This includes ourselves. Sometimes we believe, most ardently, that we’re super human. “I’m not afraid of going down that dark alley; I’ll beat the pulp out of any murderer or mugger that comes near me!” “Pssh, I don’t have to worry about eating healthy; I’ll just burn it off later.” “I can stay up all night and get through the next day no problem. Who sleeps these days anyway?”
The last one, to no one’s surprise, is the one super human lie that I told myself last night when I got home. I was getting lots of work done. I had begun to work on my term paper again (I had finished nearly all of my other work) and saw that it was four in the morning. So I ate breakfast, figuring it was already four o’clock so I might as well stay up until it’s time for class. I know, stupid.
Long story short, I ended up falling asleep about an hour before my alarm went off. This was my rationale: “Oh, a couple of hours will do me just fine; then I’ll just drink some hot cocoa, feel more awake, and then go to sleep early tonight!” Yes, Hunter, because that’s the best way to take care of your body. My class started at eleven. When I picked up my iPod and opened my eyes, it was forty minutes after class had started.
I had missed World Literature.
I began to cry, from disappointment in myself and absolute exhaustion. I just felt so terrible. I should’ve known better! I mean, how could I possibly forget the concepts of health that my parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles had drilled into my brain since my freshman year of high school? I guess I had to learn for myself. Thinking this way, however, didn’t make me feel any better. I felt like I had to apologize to someone for my ridiculousness. I wrote in my journal for a while, but, for some reason, I didn’t feel like God was the one to whom I needed to apologize (I know it sounds weird and blasphemous, but bear with me). So I called my Daddy.
I was so glad to hear his voice but at the same time I felt like such a disappointment. I know some of you are probably thinking I was being too hard on myself, and you might be right, but I was the kid in grade school that cried whenever she received below a 90% on any assignment. Yes, I am THE nerd-girl.
My father had many good things to say, most of them insightful and encouraging. He asked me what I was doing and I replied, “Sitting in my dorm, crying.” He chuckled and said, “Well that’s not going to fix anything!” He basically told me to pull myself together, get the work I needed to get done, done, and move on with my life. Lesson learned, it’s over, you’re fine.
Parents are awesome 🙂
Needless to say, I did pull myself together…well, at least enough to get out of my dorm and head to the library and lunch. God reminded me of the fact that I was exhausted, stressed, and emotional, so I was ‘advised’ to not take things too seriously or make any important decisions today, or at least until I’ve put my body back into a routine. I find it totally ironic that I spent all night working on a term paper and then missed the class the next day that the term paper was for. Go figure. I also think that all-nighters are like some kind of addiction or drug, because once you realize your body can go longer without sleep than you thought it could, you’re very tempted to just let it go to sleep when you decide, rather than listen to its internal clock. Word of advice; forget the stress, forget the caffeine, just listen to the clock. LISTEN TO IT!
God must’ve known how disappointed I was feeling, because on my way to the cafeteria, He had me run into two of my writing major people who had noticed I hadn’t been in class that morning. Before I explained anything, one of them gave me a hug because she said I looked like I needed one. Oh it was so needed! I explained to them what happened and they told me not to worry about it, not in a, “Oh who cares about class anyway?” fashion, but in a “It’s all right, Hunter; you always take notes and come to class and you work really hard” kind of way. It was really cool of them 🙂
Then, when I grabbed lunch and some hot cocoa, I received an email from my Grandma, talking about an “encouragement from the past.” Someone had sent her an email a long time ago that read:
“Good morning. This is God. I will be handling all your problems today. I will not need your help. So have a great day.”
So, I think it’s safe to say that even though I messed up again and I was really disappointed in myself, God still had my back; He was still placing little things in my life equivalent to a sticky note on the fridge or flowers at work to encourage me and to remind me that He still loves me. I need that, and He knows it. I need Him all the time, and He’s there all the time, even if I don’t feel like He is. I still feel really stupid for thinking the whole all-nighter thing would work, because I totally know my own body and its limits and what I need to do to keep it healthy and running properly, but now I understand that it’s going to be okay. At least I learned it now instead of later, when I had a job and lost it because I had pulled an all-nighter and then slept through my clock-in time. Yeah…today doesn’t feel so bad when I think about it that way 🙂
Amongst my anguish this morning, I received a message from my colleague (he’s technically not my colleague, just a very good friend, but I plan on attending writing conventions and book signings and all sorts of nerdy nonsense with him in the future when we’re both famous authors, so I’m going to call him my colleague) concerning my last blog post. I realize I went a little emotional on all y’all, but I wanted you to see where I was coming from, even if that perspective was distorted or still in progress. He reminded me that, while he did understand my perspective, God ordained men and women to be together, and while it’s true that nothing will happen if it’s not God’s will, if God presents me with an opportunity (which I don’t think He has, or else I’m just more dense than I thought I was, which, considering the events that have transpired in the past forty-eight hours, is entirely possible) and I ignore it, then it’s certain that nothing will happen. My father also reminded me, telling me to ignore my mother’s giddiness about “the whole boy thing” (but who can blame her? She’s my mom :)), to just be myself and not to worry about it. It’s interesting; for the past couple of weeks I’ve been praying for wisdom. Looks like I needed to be brought to my knees before I could receive any, but that’s okay. I’ve got it now 🙂
After attending my second class (which took place in the third floor of the library), I studied in the library for a good two hours. I did a lot of research for my term paper (which is due Monday), completed a large number of assignments, and started a bunch more. On top of all of this nonsense, ever since last night listening to the reading of “The Atomic Age,” I’ve been reading a handful of C.S. Lewis’s essays and excerpts. I’m really enjoying them and they’re very encouraging. And don’t even get me started on how many books I’m reading right now. Some of the titles include: The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien, Why I Believe by Dr. James Kennedy, Saving Leonardo by Nancy Pearcey, I Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace, and T.S. Eliot: The Complete Poems and Plays. Some of these, most of these, I started a while ago and I still haven’t finished them. I have many books on my shelf, including The Mezzanine by Nicholson Baker, that I’ve started, enjoyed, but haven’t finished. It’s maddening I tell you! I actually feel bad for the books; they just don’t deserve to be treated so fleetingly…
Wow. I really am a nerd aren’t I?
When I came back to my dorm and set up my laptop and such to do more homework, I was reminded of the ‘basics’ of Christianity, as in the first verses, the first things I learned when I began pursuing my relationship with God, or, when I returned a microscopic fragment of the love He’s been giving me for eternity. When I was setting up my laptop, I discovered that it wouldn’t connect to the Internet…again. I kept on trying and eventually I found myself on the verge of becoming angry. But instead of giving in, I sat back and realized how foolish I was being. I felt like I had completely forgotten the verses I’d known forever and that holy scripture is my sword; it’s the only way for me to effectively fight off temptation. Duh! So I smiled and thought about James 1:19. “Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.” I sat there for about ten seconds thinking and smiling to myself before trying to connect again. It connected on the first try this time.
I can say with great confidence that I will be going to sleep before midnight tonight, not only because I need to get my internal clock back on track, but also because I’m so fatigued I might as well be a zombie. I’m so glad God takes time to remind me of how human I am. Sometimes I think I can do everything without Him, or at least most things. This whole concept is really stupid to me, trying to go through life without God, so I feel especially stupid when I embrace it. It’s kind of like this: you and a friend go bull riding. Your friend is a professional bull rider; they’ve been doing this since before they could walk, or something insane like that. You get on the bull first. They get ready to explain to you what you’re supposed to do to stay safe and not die, but you silence them and say that you’ve got it, even though the only thing you know about bull riding is that you’re sitting on a Big Mac…you can see how this is going to end. It’s the same concept as trying to go through life without God. God knows what’s going to happen; He knows what you need to do to stay safe, to get the best out of every situation you’re in. And, like your friend, He cares about you, though infinitely more than any human, so you can be sure He has your best interest in mind 🙂 Follow the Bull Rider, because the bull isn’t going to tell you anything.
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
—Psalm 73:26, ESV