This week has already been a roller coaster. At one point the light at the end of the tunnel was so bright. Then it dimmed slightly over the past weekend because of scheduling conflicts. I then shared with my best friend that these were stressful times. Early yesterday morning after tending to seedlings, I received news, which made me see the brightness of this light once again. You see, I received final confirmation that the end of my current educational trajectory is indeed near. There’s much I still must add to the required final presentation. Therefore, my time is extremely limited this week and next. For this reason, I may be brief here today.
I am thankful for every person in my life who has helped me to build and maintain resilience during this time. I have surely needed this to sustain and care for my body and soul. I threaded lightly in new friendships, because it was imperative that I made time for my lasting ones. Even with these great relationships, phone calls had to be scheduled with only a few moments of sporadic communications. My thoughts on either kind, were that if I would have dove right in, I wouldn’t have had the time or energy to support the deeper and meaningful moments of getting to know someone new or even to maintain the old friendships at the caliber I am used to. Diving in, just would not have been fair. So, I backed away. I backed away without an explanation of why. I backed away because I needed to focus on that light at the end of tunnel.
The closer I moved toward the light, the brighter it became. Knowing Jesus is like this. He is indeed the light of the world. John tells us…again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 18:12). At this juncture of my own life (educational completion and in other areas too), I no longer walk in darkness.
My road to this journey has been one of the most heart breaking. For those of you who don’t know this, my first doctoral program was the only one offered in the country. Two years ago, just when I was close to defending, the school I was enrolled in, closed its doors. I then had to search for a school willing to take all of my credits without me having have to pay more than I’d budgeted. This process took me five months. Even the state universities wanted me to pay more than I had. This time came with great disappointment. It was a time of deep despair. The school that accepted my study, grabbed on to it. In fact, the leaders grabbed so hard I thought they didn’t want to let go of me. I was allowed to have a doctoral chair from DePaul University who was also employed by this new school. The doctoral subject matter expert assigned to me, pushed me like no other. The academic reader assigned to me has great experience on research on mass shootings. He was at the University of Virginia completing his doctoral program when this institution experienced a mass shooting of its own. He has likewise presented much on this topic. He finally shared this with me two weeks ago! When I received the email early yesterday morning concerning the possible dates to defend next week, I could only say “God, only you made this all possible.” (Matthew 19:26).
Friends, no matter the circumstances you currently face, please remember that God knows what’s best for you (Proverbs 3:5). In my case, I could have never imagined the course I’d take, and the people God would put in my life to make this all possible. When I received the news three weeks ago that my manuscript was finally approved, I looked at the email and just cried so hard. I shared this experience with my chair and told her that I have suppressed so much for so long…that I had to practice what I preached concerning resilience. Her response in so many words was “I know this has been so difficult for you, but in all of it, you have been so kind and gracious. I am glad I know you.”
No matter the perceptions others may have about you, remember that only God knows your heart (1 Corinthians: 4:5). However, a kind, gracious, and resilient heart, is only possible when Jesus is allowed in. The ability to overcome unforeseen circumstances, is only possible when the Holy Spirit is permitted in. A good life is possible when the Triune is admitted into the heart.