When I was preparing to come home for the summer after my first year of college ended, I cried knowing things wouldn’t be the same next year.
When I was packing to move back in for my second year, my mom cried knowing that me leaving this time was different.
When I was talking to a friend after a week or two of being at school, she cried knowing things felt different.
The routine and steadiness of this past year became so comfortable that the new beginnings everyone was experiencing became overwhelming rather than exciting.
But the problem didn’t lie in the newness of what I was experiencing, it lay in the comfort of what I had experienced.
The overwhelming sense of “new” that was surrounding my life as I left home to go to college where nearly everything had changed from the year before had sent a shock to all my senses. While I was consciously aware that things were going to be different, it didn’t register until I actually felt the differences. But as I was in class writing a reflection of my week I realized that this shock to my senses was exactly what I needed to get out of the content mindset I was in.
There’s nothing wrong with being comfortable, but there is some danger in being content. I had gotten so comfortable in my way of life last year that I had also become content, not feeling the need for or even wanting change. So much so that when change happened I didn’t know how to respond.
But the new beginnings that are taking place in nearly every aspect of my life have served me well and reminded me not only to be careful about becoming content, but to appreciate change as well.
I know that with all the new things I am experiencing I will continue to grow into the person I want to be and learn each step of the way.
I hope you learn to appreciate and see the beauty in change as well.
When I was in high school I was very active in band and choir. I played clarinet for roughly seven years and I sang in the choir for two. In my time in the music department, I’ve heard and played a lot of songs that have spoken to me on a level that can only be reached by music or literature. However, no piece has touched me more than “On a Hymnsong of Phillip Bliss” by David Holsinger. If you have ever heard the phrase, be it in song or poem, “it is well with my soul,” this song is inspired from the story behind that phrase.
In the late-1800’s, a man was planning a trip for he and his family to go to Europe. Right before the time of departure, the man was needed in Chicago and had to stay in the states to take care of some business, but he decided to send his wife and daughters on the ship to Europe as planned and he would follow them later on. However, after a few days, the man received a phone call from his wife who had landed in Europe informing him that the boat had been struck during its journey and sank within minutes – only she and a few survivors had made their way safety, his daughters not being a part of that few. Soon after, the man got on another ship to join his wife.
The story goes that as the ship was sailing overseas near the point where his daughters had drowned, the man was overcome with grief but turned to God. Here he was, in the midst of heartache and despair, turning upwards to God and saying, “When peace like a river attendth my way / when sorrows like sea-billows roll / whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to know; / it is well, it is well with my soul.”
I played this piece at least once a year for three years in a row, and every time I played it I found myself in tears. There’s something unbelievably powerful about a faith so strong that it can give you peace at a time where peace seems unthinkable. I know everyone goes through heartache and they experience pain on different levels than the ones around them, but how often, in the midst of that hurt, can you remember turning to God and thinking that it is well with your soul? For three years now, this song, this poem, and this story, are a constant reminder to me that while trials may come and hardship will bear it’s way into my life, I know I will always be reassured of God’s support in my helpless state and it will always, always, be well with my soul.
When I was younger I used to love the movie The Little Princess. It was about a young girl who’s father got drafted into the war, and because she had no other relatives, she was forced to stay in a girl’s home in New York. This girl was intelligent and outspoken which got her into quite some trouble in the house. Eventually, this young girl’s father comes back but she is not allowed to leave the house for various difficult reasons. However, at the end of the movie, there is a scene where this young girl is trying to get away and get to her father. She is standing at the very top of this house and there is a long piece of plywood stretching from her window to another. The weather is dreadful and the rain is pouring, but the girl steps out onto the wood and attempts to make her way over. Despite the rain, the slips, and the sheer panic, she makes it into her fathers arms.
Just like the young girl balancing out in the rain, there are a lot of times where we’re left with the choice to stay or to trust and cross. Isn’t it funny how it wasn’t sunny and seventy when she had to make that journey? No, it was cold and raining and nighttime – not exactly ideal circumstances for a difficult situation. But this seems to be how things are in life, too. When it rains, it pours, and we’re left dripping wet and cold. But, the thing about trusting and crossing through the storm is that in the movie, the girl trusted both herself and her father, and we should do the same. Because at the end of the day, He will always be there to catch us in His arms.
It’s no secret that life gets hard and things don’t always work out the way we hope. It’s just one of the things we sign up for when we come into this world. But even the worst things are bearable and even the largest risks are worth it when you know that, no matter what, God will be there to catch you if and when you fall. A friend once told me that he doesn’t believe God will only give you as much as you can handle – sometimes He’ll give you more. And maybe that’s true. Maybe God will give you more than you can handle because He can handle the rest. I guess sometimes you just have to trust – trust through the storm.
We were fit into a mold the second we were born. This mold is one that grows – think of it like the spray on shoes in Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. It stretches to keep fitting us as we grow, but it is a mold nonetheless. This mold is made up of rules and expectations that are attached to our beings, and the threat of what will happen when we break them is greater than our desire to actually do the breaking. We are pawns in a game that can only be won by queens and kings. But it seems to me that the threat of breaking these norms is only great because the system (the game, if you will) has been the same for so long that people can’t bear the thought of something different. But rules were made to be broken, and I like to think my generation is pretty good at doing just that.
I have the utmost respect for my parents and other adult role-models in my life. However, if I hear the phrase “because that’s just the way it is” one more time, I will lose my mind. The “way it is” is the way it was set a long time ago, and we live in such progressive times that I, and anybody else for that matter, can’t honestly be expected to follow in the same footsteps as my parents or my parents’ parents or any generations before. We are expected to get a decent paying job, have a decent family, and live in a decent house. But I don’t want to live a decent life. I want to live an extraordinary life.
This game we are forced to play isn’t one that I want to be a part of. I have never cared about being rich or living an overall stable lifestyle because I know that with my goals that’s not something that I’m likely to have. I expect instability and a few bumpy roads along the way. But as long as I’m taking part in something that brings me joy and benefits not only me, but the people around me, that’s what really matters. I know quite a few people my age with this mindset – one where the price of the game isn’t worth it. I hope someday this can become a more widely accepted perception of life. I know there are people out there who are working jobs they hate and walking through life just to get through the day, and I know they are doing that because they feel like they have to. But it’s about time we realize this is not the way life has to be lived.
We need to stop mourning a life we don’t have because we feel our dreams died before they even had a chance to live.
This is the excerpt for your very first post.
My name is Erin and I am a lover of all things travel, writing, and dreaming, though not necessarily in that order. I am a college student with no prospects of becoming the next Ernest Hemingway or any other famous writer, and I don’t foresee myself leaving as large of a mark on the world as Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr. I do, however, want to leave something. So maybe that’s why I’m writing now. Perhaps the words I leave behind, be it on page or online, will stick and that will be my way of changing the world – even a little bit.
There is not a lot to who I am because chances are, I am just like you. I feel passionately about many things, such as the power of an educated mind, the love of a broken heart, and the beauty of a simple thing. I have dreams and aspirations, both realistic and unrealistic. I am very good at contradicting myself and I often get lost when telling a story. I love meeting new people and trying new things, and I am a firm believe that the best things in life happen just beyond your comfort zone.
I will talk a lot about life and share quotes and stories that I hope will encourage you one way or another. I hope there are times where you disagree with what I say, because that means you are thinking critically about the words of others, and that’s great. I also hope there are times where you agree passionately with what I have to say, because that means you are feeling passionate, and that is wonderful. But most of all, I hope that no matter what, at the end of the day, you are left with a constant reminder that it is always a good day for a good day.