There’s 23 days left at Grove City College before my 7th semester here comes to an end.
There’s 23 days to get all these papers done, including that one weird “group paper” that no one’s really sure how to handle. (Will my group members have absurdly passionate views on the Oxford Comma, or nah?) There’s 23 days left for me to have the same roommate I’ve had every year here and 23 days left for me to grab a ridiculously weak coffee at the student union with another one of my dearest friends before both of them become a December 2015 graduate and launch into the mysterious adult world of job hunting and wedding planning.
In these 23 days, I want so badly to not treat reading like it’s a burden. I want so badly to not feel see people in my class group as assets or detriments towards a red-inked letter scribbled across a half-sheet of copy paper. At the end of a semester when I just want the toil of academia to end and the bliss of Christmas to begin, 23 days can’t pass quick enough. But at the end of a semester when I just want my friends to stay, 23 days can’t go slow enough.
I feel like I’m trying to listen to two songs at once, one being this frantic Kesha remix and the other being an uncut Bon Iver track. I hate the song, I love the song, I want the song to do something different. Dissonance is the concept I’m trying to get at. I want to make time speed up, yet want it to slow down or stop all together. 23 days of listening to a peculiar soundtrack—the soundtrack of senior year—but I’m also comfortable saying that this strange soundtrack will be on repeat into other eras of my life that I’ve yet to live.
I come to the end this semester wanting this time to end, but not wanting it to ever end. I know that the end will bring sadness, but I also know it will bring a relived sweetness. The soundtrack of senior year—of these 23 days and the more that are left to come—is a curious tune—a tune that fluctuates back and forth and sometimes in between an irresolute minor key and an incomprehensibly beautiful melody. And more and more, I’m learning to accept and even enjoy tapping my foot along to this peculiar tune.
The Minor Key
The tune of senior year just slid into what I saw as a minor key VERY recently. Like this week recently.
On November 12th, I got rejected from a post-grad program I was so sure wanted to be part of—a program that I thought would bring me a whole lot of happiness and personal growth. It turns out that I have met another conflict—the thing that I thought was so right for me is actually so NOT for me, as evidenced by God’s clear message that I am not going to be doing that program. Unbeknownst to me at the the time, the daily devotional I usually read but I skipped on the morning of November 12th would directly prompt me with the exact truth I would need to heed as I dealt with rejection. I didn’t read my November 12th devotional until November 13th, the day after my rejection.
And I’m not upset about reading the devotional late—better late than never, and wow—did God have special words for me to hear. On the devo for November 12th, Shauna Niequist wrote on the conflict and dissonance of our own desires and God’s plan for us, saying:
“I thought I knew what would make me happy. And I pursued it. God, in his grace, keeps bringing me back to the path of life that he has chosen for me. The things I thought would make me happy don’t. And the things I’ve been avoiding for years are giving me life, hope, and peace in ways I could never have imagined…The God who made us on purpose and for a purpose, with great love, has laid out a path for your life, and for my life. When we live faithfully on that path—small and ordinary as it may be, different than you planned, not at all what you dreamed—we will live with peace, joy, and fullheartedness.”
In the moment of revealed rejection, it was incredibly easy to label this moment as a definite, inarguable minor-key-moment. But even in the few hours that have passed, as short as those have been, I’m able to tap my foot along to the peculiar tune that is being played. Thanks to the grace of God, the words of friends, the help of family, and the healing power of creative writing, the song goes on. I’m already seeing the beauty in it. My friends, my mentors, and my family have filled this moment of “Rejection in C Minor” with beauty and God’s truth and for that I am grateful.
Resolve, or Something Like It
This moment I’m living in now (these 23 days + 1 more semester) is full of disaccord. This stage of life doesn’t lend itself immediately to the deep exhale, but a suspended breath. This stage of life might seem like a joke that’s waiting for a punch line, or a story without a good epilogue (so basically like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows). Or it might seem like a minor tune waiting for a note of melodic resolution.
There are 23 days left before this semester ends, and the days that have come before these final 23 have included crying, anger, and rejection, but they’ve also included laughter, joy, and restful acceptance. I’m not sure what’s in store for these next weeks, or the weeks after that. But a good friend imparted some words to me the other day that I think help me see down the road a little more clearer. He wrote:
“You already know the end of your story. You know the eternity that waits for you on the other side of this life. Each beauty you regard in this life is a glimpse of that. Grove City is still a wonderful glimpse of that…So when you start to feel anxious (which is normal and healthy and will happen and that’s fine), remind yourself of that. You do not know all the chapters that lie in between, but you know that the end is just the beginning, and that changes things.”
There are 23 days left at Grove City College before my 7th semester here comes to an end. Will they be fast? Will they be slow?
All I know is that I’ll tap my foot along with a tune whose meter changes by the minute, whose melody is multifaceted, whose peculiarity is perfect. And in the end, I know the tune will resolve.