Thursday, July 06, 2006

Baby Steps

These last two years have been very different than the other years of my life. It's funny, I wanted to join the Army so badly before, and even after I got sick. One of the things basic training does, is tear you down and build you back up the way they want. I feel like, even though I haven't had to get up at 3 or 4 in the morning or do push ups until I fall on my face or get hit with bars of soap in socks (really, they do that) or anything like that, I feel like I've gone through my own basic training.

Lately, especially, I've grown increasingly distraught about my future. I don't know what kind of job I can get, physically. And it's not like I'm rolling in money. I'm pretty far in debt with my two years of higher education thus far. And after two more, I'm not sure what I'm going to be able to do as far as paying that back. I know my mom will do everything she can to help, but she is mortal and has her own bills and limitations. (That do not allow for paying back private college tuition and large medical bills.) I was beginning to (only half jokingly) think that my only option was going to be marrying a very, very rich man.

One night I was laying in bed. I was thinking about what I used to have in life. A GPA most students would give their left leg for, a plan after high school that was attainable, interesting and challenging, a good relationship with my mother, a flexible job at a stable that I loved, wonderful friends, pride in being able to do things for myself, a spot in my school that was neither too high as to have too much pressure, nor too low that it was demeaning, a nice spot in my church community as the girl who knew things and was the really, really good Catholic, two wonderful dogs and a crazy cat, and the ability to come and go as I pleased, and most importantly a wonderful and flourishing relationship with God. In short, I had it good. I had no reason to suspect change.

In the past two years, my GPA has plummeted. I'm now jumping for joy that it's finally at 2. something again. Not a . something. (That was bad!) My relationship with my mom suffered to the point where I contemplated running away, dropping out of school and living on a friend's couch so as to have no contact with her. I haven't been on a horse more than once (and that was dud), much less do things like train them or clean stalls. I haven't wanted to be around my friends who knew me before I got sick, because I didn't want them to see me helpless and have lost touch with or have a shaky relationship with many because of that. And those who have stood by me and helped, I feel indebted to and I have no idea how to repay. I've had to ask for help in things like getting dressed, walking, and eating. (Believe me, there's nothing like having a friend put on your bra for you or feed you supper.) I've had to find a completely new spot in a school where I'm not really near the top. I'm around a bunch of people who are working hard at sainthood and am more one of the "bad kids" than the good in comparison. Thankfully my animals are still alive, but after two years away from them, save a few months, the relationship is way different. And most of all, have gotten very angry with God for not letting me be a nun.

Many of these things happen to a normal teenager/young adult at some point or another. Some things only happen to a few. And some people have way worse things happen. As these things piled up, I realized I was being striped of all the earthly things that were not so important, so I could focus on what is not earthly as is so very important. After wallowing in the pit of self pity and consouling myself with the, "there are children dying in Africa" senario, I am, slowly, trying to let God build me back up. I figure if it took two years to take away the unimportant things, it will take much longer to build up the important ones, but I guess I'm ready to start. I take solace in the fact that God is gentle. I am very happy to know that I am really, truly working towards the good. I think about the girl who went to Christendom having never visited nor even seen a photo, having only talked via e-mail to her "big sister" a few times and a seminarian who went there for a semester. Who stepped on the campus for the first time in August of 2004 wondering which building was St. Lawrence Commons and was scared to death, but was there on God's say so, so she knew it would be okay. Yea, I think I could learn much from her. I told one of my friends that I thought my life was going to be a grand adventure. I think it will be. Especially if God doesn't tell me where I'm going in August untill March. But hey, it's worked so far! :P

6 Comments:

Blogger Propter Quid said...

Look at it this way: Another twenty years from now, after you've recovered from all of this, you won't think it's the end of the world when your house gets robbed and you have to buy a new television!

God Bless.

9:07 PM  
Blogger White Phantom said...

If I am around for my house to be robbed in twenty years, I will be thrilled, absolutely thrilled. I probably won't be too happy with the not having a tv part.

In all honesty, though, that doesn't look very likely. So I'm not too worried about that.

12:01 AM  
Blogger Propter Quid said...

Oh, you'll be around in forty years, I'm sure. Don't give up now, It can't help anything.

God Bless.

4:51 AM  
Blogger Sheila said...

What do you mean, you're not at the top? I think you're a lot of people's favorite person to be around. I know you're one of mine.

Look at it this way: the important things about you were never your GPA, or your job, or your health. Your sunny attitude, sympathy for others, and naturalness about your faith were the things that people love about you, and those are things that can't be taken away from you unless you let them be.

Besides that ol' sense of humor that helps you deal with everything that comes your way. Keep it up, WP!

3:55 PM  
Blogger White Phantom said...

Thanks Sheila & Andrew. I guess, what I've learned is that the important things can't be taken away. (Oh Sheila! You're so smart! And beautiful! What are you doing with a guy like him?) But seriously, that is what I've been learning.

11:08 PM  
Blogger Learning to be Alone said...

Jenne, I read this blog and remembered in a sudden rush all the reasons I love you. Not that I've stopped loving you, of course, but all the reasons sort of came at me at once - if that makes sense. I'm thinking of our dear little hobbit, head and shoulders covered in a black chapel veil, hands folded, eyes on the floor, making her prayerful way back to her seat after receiving Communion at daily Mass. That is always the first thing I think of when I picture you.

I'm thinking of the Jenners crashing in the common room in Campion with all her books, prepared to study till some ungodly hour of the night. I'm thinking of silly pictures of rabbits posted on my door, or notes scrawled on my white board in the unmistakeable Jenne hand, reading, "MB: I borrowed your pants. Thanks!" I'm thinking of these and all sorts of other things, and I'm missing you A LOT.

Growing up can be so hard - don't we all know it? And learning who we are and who we can be, as opposed to who we once were and who we thought we could be, and learning to put those people together in order to find who God wants us to be - its good to see I'm not the only one. You've had it a lot harder than I have. It sounds like you've come a lot farther than I have. I guess its no coincidence I was thinking of you earlier this afternoon. I remember thinking to myself, "I don't know how many people could remain so joyful and so alive after all that Jenne has been through." I don't know if I know any people who could manage it, actually, except for you. You have my undying respect.

Anyway. I don't think any of what I was trying to say came out in what I just wrote, but I hope something of what's on my mind is evident. If nothing else, know that I love you very, very, very much, that I pray for you every day, that I miss you lots, and that I think you're just the bee's knees! (Even though I don't really know what that saying means). Have a BEAUTIFUL day. God bless you always.

Love in Christ,
Mary Beth

8:34 PM  

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