Hey…hey…today was my last final….you know what that means…..?
I made it through the first semester! Isn’t that absolutely fantastic? I honestly wasn’t sure I was going to survive…but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Because I took my World Literature final on Monday, I didn’t have class at eleven this morning. So I let myself sleep in, waking up around ten to talk to God. I thanked Him for the snow. I thanked Him for my friends. I thanked Him for…well, Him 🙂 There’s so much about Him that I can’t even get over. Like how He makes things around me so beautiful, how He gives me the ability to see things as better than they actually are while still acknowledging their brokenness…God is working with me on this, but He’s giving me opportunities to exercise it. He’s just so wonderful in so many ways…
Overall today was actually rather slow. I did a lot of reading. I read through Daniel some more and likewise with Matthew. Daniel introduced new prophecies that I couldn’t quite grasp, but after reading them over once or twice again, talking them over with Adham, and doing a little bit more research, I think I got it. I talked to God about prophecy after that, like why He gives us certain prophecies but not others, or why He gives us prophecy at all in the Bible. Then I concluded that prophecy is just one of the many ways God demonstrates His sovereignty, His power, His omnipresence and omniscience. 😀
After talking to God for some time, I made myself relatively presentable and went to read in the cafeteria. I continued my reading of Saving Leonardo and ate sushi. Sushi is amazing. Sarah and Karly walked up to my table and ended up sitting with me. It was nice to have company 🙂
Then it was time to complete my final, well, final. Today was the day I had to “perform” my creative presentation of my investigation of the self in Critical Thinking & Writing class. I was nervous about this, because not only was I unsure about whether I had fulfilled the requirements of the assignment but moreover I was afraid that people would think I was making fun of their struggle for identity, if they had one. But as I was walking up the stairs to class, I realized that it’s because people are struggling with identity I needed to present this, this idea that the self isn’t as cosmic as society makes it out to be, this fact that God has answered all of the big questions of life. This was important, despite what reactions it might extract from my classmates.
I went second to last, possibly one of the most awkward presentation slots in history. Regardless, I stood up in front of the class and began to recite my free verse poem. I started out by reading an excerpt from Psalm 139…
“O Lord, you have searched me and known me…you know when I rise up and my lying down….”
As I began reading, a chill ran up my spine and I wasn’t sure if I could continue. This entire passage suddenly hit me with full force…God has searched me and known me. I am beautifully and wonderfully made. Me. It all clicked. I’ve read this chapter many times, running to its comforting words whenever I felt detached from who God says I am, from how I know He’s made me. But as I stood before my classmates and my professor, reciting these words, I almost felt like falling to my knees.
I did continue, and I did finish…when I talked about the self being not all that cosmic, people seemed to shift in their seats and their eyes widened a bit, but nobody reacted beyond that. Though I had sort of wished people would challenge the words God put on my heart, wished they would ask questions, the sudden understanding of these familiar words made it all worth while. Wow. It’s just amazing when God does something like that…I seriously thought I really understood Psalm 139, but when I found myself in a position where people were watching me to see if I believed it, I realized that I did. I really do believe God has searched me and known me…I really do believe God knew who I was before I was me…I really do believe God knows absolutely everything about me, from the dreams I have to the dark memories that burden my heart, and from my favorite food to my movements as I wake up in the morning. He knows me….I really do believe I am beautifully and wonderfully made. No, I’m not the skinniest girl or the prettiest and I’m certainly not the most graceful, but God thinks I’m to die for…He’s proved it.
After my final presentation, I realized that I had finished my finals; I had survived finals week. The weird part? I didn’t feel any different. It was just like, “Oh, I’m done with finals…I guess that’s cool.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m relieved it’s all over (I’ll be even more relieved when I see my grades), but I guess it’s just not as climactic as it is for so many college students. Oh well 🙂
Since finals were finished, I grabbed some french fries and a sandwich, preparing to totally veg and watch Gone With The Wind, because one of the presentations had used Gone With The Wind as a primary source and it reminded me of how much I love that movie. But when I walked into my dorm, Lin had bags of things cluttering the floor and she was taking all of her stuff off of her shelves. I was incredibly confused.
“Lin, what’s up?”
“Oh, I’m going off campus.”
Wait, what? When I was going to be told about this? You’re leaving me?
After some more talking, I was informed that Lin was leaving me. I would no longer have her as a roommate. No more good-smelling Chinese food flooding the room, no more Chinese lessons, no more anything with Lin. My heart was kind of breaking. But as she began packing some more and I gave her some boxes stored on my side, I reassured myself it was okay. During the time Lin was my roommate, I had talked to her about my God, I had told her of His love for her…she knows. I’ve planted a seed. It’s God’s turn to send a sower. And that makes it all better 🙂
Instead of watching Gone With The Wind, I planned on going to the library with Karly for a couple of hours. While I was waiting for Karly, Adham was messaging me. We ended up making plans to go out for food around Jay Street/Metro Tech. I’ve never hung out with JUST Adham, so I was a little apprehensive as to how this was going to go. But I was excited nonetheless 🙂
After spending an hour at the library with Karly, I bundled up and headed out. Okay, so THIS WAS THE PLAN: Adham and I were going to meet at the Au Bon Pain (a by-origin French cafe in Metro Tech) at around 6:40. Yep, that didn’t happen. First of all, I got on the wrong train. I know, I know, I’m technically not a tourist anymore and I’ve used the train long enough to not get on the wrong one, but it happened anyway. After I got on the right train and got off at the correct train stop, I was greeted by the daunting fact that Adham’s directions were much more difficult to follow than I thought.
He had told me, when I got out at Jay Street, to find Metro Tech and there would be a long strip of stores, one of which would be Au Bon Pain. Well, twenty-four minutes after getting out of the subway station, I finally stepped inside of a random Starbucks and texted him saying I was lost. Then, instead of staying where there was wifi and waiting for him to respond, I decided to be a stubborn, curious individual and try again to find my destination. I’m pretty sure I covered a good three miles while trying to find this place. If this had happened when I first arrived in New York City, I would’ve been panicking, hysterically praying for God to use some kind of Star Trek teleporter mechanism to put me where I needed to be. But I just walked, unafraid (though not ignorant). I talked to God during the entire time, very calmly asking Him to keep me safe and to help me find Adham.
It was about 7:30 now, and I was thinking he’d probably gone home. I just felt so terrible! I had told him I’d meet him and then I was almost an hour late. I’m pretty sure I mentally facepalmed at least twenty times.
At around 7:50, I found Metro Tech…turns out Metro Tech is not a street…it’s a massive campus that I walked through about five or six times before noticing it was where I was supposed to be. The center strip is lined with small trees decorated with Christmas lights, spreading out from either side of a large evergreen similarly adorned with lights and bows. I sat in view of the trees, thinking that, even though I was lost, at least I got to see the display of trees; it was really pretty 🙂
While I was sitting on a bench, I noticed I had wifi on my iPod. Immediately I texted Adham and told him where I was.
“That’s where I am! What do you see!?”
I told him what I saw and when I looked up I saw him half-running along the row of trees perpendicular to where I was. I jumped up and ran over, calling his name. I don’t think either of us have been so relieved to see another person in our entire lives. Adham pointed out to me that I had walked by Au Bon Pain about three times.
Long story short, after apologizing countless times and feeling terrible even more times, we began walking towards a restaurant called Junior’s. As we walked, we talked…and talked…and talked. And it was nice 🙂 My thoughts about where we were going to eat (at this point all I wanted was a cup of hot chocolate since I was frozen to the bone) were the complete opposite of what it actually was. I thought Junior’s was just a burger joint, a little chain that ran only through the City. Well, I was wrong.
Junior’s, it turns out, is a legitimate restaurant. We walked through revolving doors into a place decorated with walls of mirrors, lit up wreaths sporting bright red bows, clanking silverware, and white tablecloths. The waiter seated us and we began talking and looking at our menus. As I looked, Adham assured me it was his treat, which was kind of awesome 🙂 God has been blessing me through people a lot lately…I guess it’s easy when I’m surrounded by people who are willing to be used by Him 🙂
Adham ordered a cheese steak and I ordered an open-roast beef sandwich. We talked and ate and laughed. We talked about God, about cockroaches (don’t ask), about prison (PLEASE don’t ask), and about testimonies. I’m getting a little bit more comfortable with telling my testimony to other people. Sometimes I give into my fear that if I tell people my testimony then they’ll think less of me or think something’s wrong with me or try to use it against me…but God is breaking that wall down. I’m resisting, but He’s doing it anyway, because it’s what I need, and He knows it.
After desert (red velvet cheesecake, which I couldn’t finish), we walked and talked some more, heading to the train station. I had so much fun! 😀 I was really kind of nervous before hand, but God totally came through, as usual.
“Hunter, this whole situation has nothing to do with God coming through.”
Are you kidding me? God blessed me with warm clothes, that beautiful display of trees and lights, safety, and a friend like Adham. This was ALL God.
Now that I’m back at my dorm, thinking about the day, I realize that this week is sort of the closing of the first chapter, or maybe even the first book, of this four year adventure on which I’m embarking. Some characters are leaving, characters like Karly and Lin, but others are staying, like Charlene and all of the lovely people at church. Next semester will bring even more characters, like my new roommate and new professors.
Despite all of these changes, the biggest one being deciding to come to New York City in the first place, God has remained faithful to me, though I have failed many times to return His faithfulness. I remember when I decided to go to the City; I was so afraid I wouldn’t be strong enough to make it through the first semester, much less all four years. At one point during this semester I was filling out applications to transfer when God stopped me and reminded me of His desire for me to stay here. I was right; I’m not at all strong enough to complete this adventure, to fight the monsters I’ll face, to move and vanquish every obstacle, to find my way….but God is…
And that’s all I need to know 🙂