When I woke up this morning I was half blind.
Actually, I wasn’t blind, but my right eye was closed, crusted over with some kind of goo emanating from the undersides of my eye-lids. I got up, pried my eye open, and went to the bathroom. I washed my face and flushed out my eye, examining it further in the mirror.
I had pink eye.
I’ve never had pink eye before, but I remember about two years ago when my father came down the stairs with bloodshot eyes. He’d gotten pink eye in both eyes and couldn’t touch anyone and I remember him talking about his eyes stinging. Also, just last week, before I went to play soccer, I talked to Sara, who was suffering from pink eye as well. But I hadn’t touched her. So I began to wonder where I could’ve gotten it in the first place. I decided it was probably from the gym last night. Someone probably touched the treadmill or the stair stepper, whatever, and hadn’t wiped it down before leaving.
But as I continued to clean out my eye, strip my bed of its covering, and used impossible amounts of hand sanitizer, I thought about how healthy I am otherwise, how this is just a small thing, how blessed I am to not be in too much pain and to be confident in being fully healed in a couple of days. I washed everything and wiped down every surface, getting changed and heading to the nurse to have the diagnosis confirmed.
She gave me a prescription to be filled at a nearby pharmacy on Myrtle Avenue. I came back to my dorm and grabbed my Bible Study, itching to spend time with God before I did anything else.
Something is going on in my heart. I feel like God is sifting something out of me that I’m trying to hold onto, but I don’t know what it is. All I know is that the process is uncomfortable. While I was doing my Bible Study (which I had to do throughout the day for lack of time), I became frustrated, not with God, but with myself. I’ve found myself stuck, just floating in a void of confusion where I have so many different forms of doctrine running around me that I’m still trying to discern what’s a lie and what’s truth. It’s not even that it’s separate from God’s word, or a separate religion, but rather interpretations of His word and lessons taught and books written on these interpretations. Who knew the greatest challenge would be within the faith?
I’m becoming frustrated with all of the different takes on all of the different passages on the Bible, and I’m craving the simplicity with which the gospel was meant to be received, the profundity of the Message that soaks every page being the only determining factor as to what’s real and what’s not. What is going on? Why can’t we just agree on things?
I was reading up on the Enlightenment and how it changed belief in God. The dispute on what doctrine really was is part of what caused the power of the church to fall through. Granted, the Catholic Church was doing all sorts of things they shouldn’t have been doing (Crusades, selling indulgences, preaching works-based salvation, instituting priests when there was no need), but still, the division happened within sanctuary walls. My mind is much like the sanctuary. I’m stuck trying to sort it all out.
But, when it comes right down to it, God’s word is His word, and nothing will change that. Whatever is in that book is solid and true and sure, and I can always depend on that. I can always depend on God to be who He says He is, even if my own spiritual brothers and sisters confuse me.
Meanwhile, I continue to plow through my many assignments, attacking the looming monster that is my World Literature term paper. My homework is like a mountain of laundry: you do a few loads but when you look at it again it seems to have gotten bigger. I seriously think professors created these things to make students question their own sanity. The other day in Studio, we were workshopping one of my classmates pieces, and I was commenting on the passage of time in the story. I said that I thought, because she mentioned the date of her character’s therapy session (which was a Tuesday), she should also mention the day of the week that he (the character) and his family had Thanksgiving dinner.
Thanksgiving always happens on a Thursday.
During my last study session with Edward, I ripped a piece of paper from my notebook and noticed that the edge wasn’t perforated, so I couldn’t tear the little frilly things off. I almost cried.
For Pete’s sake, I had a gluten-free toaster pastry for breakfast this morning! I do not eat purposefully gluten-free products. Ever.
But I guess I just have to remember that my salvation doesn’t depend on this term paper. I don’t need a college degree to get into heaven. My best not being good enough to get the desired grade will not separate me from Christ. Right.
Sometimes it feels like every decision I make right now in college will change my life forever, make it miserable or make it fantastic, but then I remember that I’m not the one who’s ultimately in control of my future. Just because I’m having to make a lot of decisions on my own and having to take care of myself doesn’t mean my future is suddenly mine to control. I still don’t know what’s going to happen, where God has me headed, if He’s having me stay or planning on sending me somewhere else, who He’s going to keep in my life and who He’s going to remove. It’s all on Him. And when I remember that, I remember that it’s not all about me, even in times of stress, who am I trying to glorify? Am I trying to look like I have it all together for my own sake or am I leaning on God’s comfort and love for me to carry me through with both arms?
I wasn’t able to go to Bible Study tonight. Because we’re all so affectionate, I didn’t want to risk anyone getting my pink eye. So I remained in my dorm, studying, working on homework, cleaning up, putting in my prescribed eye drops, and eating carrots, because carrots are good for your eyes…
Just kidding 🙂 but I was eating carrots.
Anyway, I got a lot done, being trapped in my quarantine of sorts. I was able to spend more time with God, to vent, to just talk. Life is a whirlwind, but He’s always the one point in my life that never moves. People will come and go, hurt me and encourage me, agree with me and fight with me, but God will always be God, He’ll never change. He’ll challenge me, refine me, sift me, protect me, love me, and comfort me, but He never changes. If God changed, if He wasn’t in my life, if I didn’t have Him to lean on, if He didn’t use His word to tell me to lean on Him, I don’t know what I’d do. I probably wouldn’t be here, no kidding.
He’s my rock and my salvation, and forgetting this would be detrimental to me, even in small matters like college (which just seems really big to me) and growing up (which also seems monstrous to me). It’s odd. In all the movies, the thing that matters most to people is their greatest weakness. In this plot line, however, the thing that matters most to me is my greatest strength.
“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” —Psalm 18:2, ESV