Saturday, January 21, 2012

One

I've lived alone for a few years now. About 99% of the time, I love having my own space. It means staying up as late as I want (10:00pm sometimes!), eating ice cream for dinner (more often than I care to admit), and leaving clothes haphazardly strewn about (I'm lazy...sue me). There are two things, however, that I have discovered I struggle to do on my own: 1) zip up dresses I'm putting on my body; 2) fold fitted sheets by myself. Those are easy things to fix...I wear skirts and only have one set of sheets that go straight from bed to wash and back on the mattress again. Ta da! How sweet independence is.

For good or bad, I choose to empower the "one."

Being alone doesn't necessarily mean being lonely. I'm not in the business of pushing loved ones away or secluding myself in a hermit-like lifestyle (all the time). My life is full of school and work and friends and church and family and taking care of all the fun/nerdy/crazy things that make me me. But this post isn't about making anyone feel pity for me because of my lack of roommates or not having a significant other...

I used to have a distinct plan for my life. One that included a loving husband and some children. And dinner on the table at a certain time every night. And driving carpool, and a vacation to Disneyland every few years, and teaching my kids to play the piano. I had it all mapped out (in my own insane OCD way), and for awhile I was angry and bitter when I felt like I had been robbed of my one shot at true happiness. (Feel free to laugh heartily at my naivety at this point…)

No, I feel like this current time in my life is a delicate cultivation of the beginning of a more substantial purpose, one that’s uniquely mine.

As I'm sure you're aware, I struggled deciding to begin graduate school. And even now that I've tucked a semester under my belt, I don't specifically know why I'm there. Or for what. Here's what I know: ONE day at a time. ONE class at a time. ONE person to take care of. And who knows where that will take me in a few years?

By this point in my existence, I obviously don’t have all the answers. What I do realize is that I am but one little person in this big vast world…but that even one person can have lasting effects, given the right circumstances. I thrive on knowing that I can make even the tiniest difference for the people I love. I can think of many, MANY “one”s in my life who have helped me at my darkest moments and seen me through some tough, seemingly dramatic times. And I recognize it would be incredibly selfish of me to be a love leech.

Last Sunday in church, there was a lesson on loving our neighbor. One of the quotes in the lesson was from a man who said he loved everyone, including those people he hasn’t met. The question was raised: How do you love people you don’t know? I mulled this around a little and was a bit ashamed to admit to myself that I found it difficult sometimes to love the people I have met, let alone everyone.

So how on Earth could I, little old Annie, ever find myself in a position where I would be giving of myself, even when I didn’t understand why I would love people I don’t know or may never make their acquaintance? And it dawned on me—I AM doing just that. Every time I sit in a class, every time I suffer through my homework, I do it because one day I hope to be part of something bigger than myself. See, I have wide-eyed dream of being a part of a humanitarian organization that provides aid to third world countries. I admit it—it’s a distant dream and currently in rough draft form, but I feel like all of the sacrifice and worry and lost sleep will be worth it in the long run. When I get to see how my efforts pay off in the future, it will be a sweetness I cannot presently comprehend.

I do imagine, though, that grad school will sorta be like my first baby—only grad school will never actually love me back. But hey, at least I don’t have to change diapers or wake up for middle-of-the-night feedings… :)

3 Comments:

Blogger Erika said...

Oh Annie what a great post, I loved it. It's funny how sometimes you want what you don't have and then you realize what you do have. You are freakin amazing. GRADUATE SCHOOL! and I am SURE you are doing fabulously. Ever since I was young and I would read humanitarian stories or look at photographs of third world countries I'd get a burning desire to do just what you want to do. I'm hoping I get my chance someday but it is a reality for you. I have no doubt you are gonna do something huge, leave your footprint on the world and make it better.

January 21, 2012 at 10:17 PM

 
Blogger Naomi said...

I adopted the mantra, "Some people have babies. I have degrees." And hopefully, we'll be people who do both.

January 22, 2012 at 1:18 AM

 
Blogger George clan said...

I can teach you how to fold fitted sheets by yourself. You are a very special ONE to us!

January 24, 2012 at 9:36 PM

 

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