One week until Thanksgiving break, but who’s counting?
When friends and family ask me how my semester is going, my answer is always the same:
“I am just holding out until Thanksgiving.”
As an English Major, the couple weeks leading up to Thanksgiving Break are my personal, academic hell. This period of time is where all of those far off due dates for research papers begin to close in on me, forcing me to retreat to the solitary space at my bedroom desk. I spend hours in this spot instead of being out with friends, which if you know me, is no small prison. I love to read, and I equally love to write, but when three papers are due within three days, it is a little much even for me.
But when my family around Thanksgiving dinner asks me how my semester is going, my answer will only look slightly different:
“I am just holding out until Christmas break”
I do not think I am alone in this. While I changed the date of my heart’s current longing, the spirit of my desire is just the same. I love this school, and I love attending my classes, reading novels, and yes even writing papers. But I have always had a heart of wanting the next best thing. She will tell you that I was a miserable infant, but I became increasingly more pleasant as my body gathered strength to hold my head up, hold my own spoon, and be independent. My mom will also tell you that I started walking at eight and half months and never bothered to crawl. I have wanted to grow up, get married, and have babies since I was two. I skipped my senior year of high school to dive into college early. Yeah, my life can easily be summarized as looking ahead while forgetting to look around.
But this is not what we are called to do as believers: we are called to be content in the circumstances that we currently find ourselves in. Often times we can get so wrapped up in our struggles that it heightens the perceived severity of circumstances. A twelve page research paper on Victorian Literature might as well be the death of me right? How many times do we say thing such as
“I’d rather chew glass than…
- Write this paper
- Read this book
- Wake up for this 8am
- Do a presentation with this person”
But when I step back, and look a little outside of myself and my current situation, I realize how ridiculous any of these answers sound in comparison to Paul. Paul, a prisoner for Christ, writes this:
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”
Paul’s circumstances are much more severe than mine. I am in a spirit of constantly wanting to move on, yet Paul can preach a message of contentment while being imprisoned and hungry.
Maybe I am the only one who is constantly looking to the end of the semester, but I have a hard time believing that I’m alone in this. November is good, everyone: while it is a time of frenzy and academic pressure, it is good. While we may have our eyes on the semester’s close, where we are now is still good. To reflect and enjoy the journey does not diminish the joy of the destination; in fact, I think it makes the end all the more satisfying. Thanksgiving and Christmas break are good, and the weeks leading up to it are as well. I am choosing to be content, even when the future seems more desirable.