Whatever Comes Next

Friday afternoon pushing through the front door, I toss my keys on the dining table, stepping over the welcoming heap of shoes, onto the well-loved green carpet beyond.

In the living room, the mother leans back from her seat on the couch, her inquisitive face sliding into my line of vision.

It’s nearing 4pm, nearing the hour of dance and errands and work and dinner, and she asks about schedule and plans and I stand there, hands on the back of a chair, suddenly realizing the length, the breadth, the depth, of my to-do list.

I think the past 12 hours were a bit of a respite, I tell her after a moment. A respite that I will have again when I’m back here on Wednesday, when I’m done.

And I was right.

Friday evening brought errands, twenty minutes at the middle sister’s dance Observation Day, before work lead to an inhaled dinner, a downtown drive, and back to back study meetings that only ended when the student center closed at 12am.

Saturday morning brought the Angel Tree Party, an event I await with eager anticipation, and relish with joy, every year. Pizza lunch dissolved into an afternoon in the same rolling seats outside the coffee shop, and it’s Sunday night now and I’ve spent so long sitting here, I might as well sleep here tonight.

At least we’ll finish knowing that we worked hard, I told Jesssica not three hours ago, as we trooped through Moody’s underground tunnels to the dorms, for a half-hour dinner break that ended in another hour of conversation, while the evidence of our final project work sat temporarily ignored all around us.

And tomorrow is Monday, the first day of finals week- my last finals week at Moody- and I have a list of things, important things, and the hours will come, and with every passing round of the clock, I’ll choose what to do next. And I hope now, I hope so very much, that I choose the right thing.

I’ve worried before, and maybe I’ve even written here, that I won’t make the right choice. That I’ll get distracted, I’ll stumble, I’ll choose wrong, and the time I might well have used to bless, to encourage, will be thrown to the wind of misplaced priorities and things that hold no real meaning.

But last Monday afternoon, sitting in the warm glow of large-bulb Christmas lights, I said trust myself and she nodded her affirmation. My eyes wandered once more over those eleven dried leaves stuck to the wall behind her as I leaned back and considered what trusting myself might look like, how I might do so when the moments move so fast, the list grows so long.

But today, right now, I don’t worry. Maybe it’s the three and a half years I’ve already spent running, working, living in this downtown space. I can look back, see how it’s all gotten done, it’s all come together in all the long months behind me, and I can know, now, that the choices I’ve made have unfolded into good. There’s trust there, I know. Trusting myself, yes, but also trusting grace and sovereignty, and that the time I’ve been here- and the ticking hours of time I have left here- has not, will not, go to waste.

And with that confidence, with that hope held tightly in my hands, in my heart, I take one step, then another, towards work, play, study- and whatever it is, whatever I am doing, there is joy and there is adventure. Because I’m trusting myself and I’m trusting Him, and whatever comes next? Well, it’ll be just what was meant to come next.

~Natalia

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