well folks, the end is approaching. some days i think about it and suddenly my eyes are coated with tears. a few hours later i get giddy at the thought and can’t sit still. it’s because this ending has so many components, is also a beginning, and is completely unlike others i have yet experienced. up til now, i’ve been on a schedule determined by the seasons of academic life. though i certainly ended that with a bang (hopping on a plane to alaska 4 days after my college graduation), i have yet to make a move in the “real world” unmotivated by class terms and breaks. in fact, it’s almost been like summer vacation for the past 15 months. okay, not quite. but now that i’m departing and not going back to school, it’s starting to sink in just how much TIME i have. i’m only 23 years old. i could still live in a new place every year for SEVEN years and be in my 20’s every time. there is no rush! seriously, the only looming deadline is that in 3 years i get kicked off my parents medical insurance…

the prospect of all those empty decades to come (hopefully), freaks me out. if i keep going at the rate i’m going, i’m still going to be hopping planes and packing up my life every year or so, getting restless in some of the least boring places in the world. and what the heck am i supposed to DO? i’m quickly retracting credence from the so-called “career path” way of living, but there are loans to keep me from becoming too wandering and carefree. mostly though, i try to focus on the exciting. look how God has blessed me so far:

2003 [momentarily] not accepted to the “public/private” school where my best friends would be going to high school (if i remember correctly, i was convinced it had something to do with the fact that i played no sports). in the small gap of time when i thought i couldn’t go there (i believe it was all of one or two days between the letters), i was accepted to a private christian school where i knew no one. SIGN. i spent the next four years at portsmouth christian academy.

2007 begin receiving college letters. first to come is gordon college, where, because i was a pca student, i had the easiest, free-est, joke of an application to hop through, which was designated the one safety school, the only one within 2 hours from home, the cheapest one by far PLUS scholarships. but i had done my time with christian education, and it was time to go off into the world and be a light. translation: i was greedy for academic prestige. here we go. i was also accepted at hamilton college, the one place i decided after applying to that i wasn’t quite thrilled about. then i was wait-listed at *drumroll*: carleton college, davidson college, kenyon college, reed college, williams college. 7 colleges, no rejections. being wait-listed means you’d better put a deposit down somewhere because all the “we really like you but, my your graduating class is large!” schools make no promises. you have to wait til all the other kids in america decide where they’re going, and then hope your name comes to the top of the list. i think i knew deep down this was a SIGN, but i wasn’t quite ready to submit. so i sent my deposit to gordon, then waited for more notices. no, no, no, no… phone call. reed college, home to one of the best undergraduate philosophy programs, was willing to take me (no, i still have not read “blue like jazz”). the acceptance packet had confetti! but it was expensive. and across the country (ha!). and i’d seen gordon at this point. my best friend was going to gordon. i took the [very nicely laid out] leap. and went to gordon. but i was not happy about it. for a year. how stubborn i can be.

2009 multi-layered application process to study at oxford university for a year complete, but wracked with self-doubt, because, well, look at my track record. then, i get it. because i attend a small liberal arts christian school that isn’t self-centered and self-reliant, i have the privilege of spending an entire academic year at the best university in the world.

2010 my time at oxford comes to a close. not only did my mind stretch and strengthen more than i could have imagined, i lived with people who taught me the true value of community – spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, musical, culinary. i traveled across europe to spain, ireland, switzerland, germany, france, scotland, and italy. i have found traveling, especially solo a/o in a foreign country, to be one of the best ways to build confidence.

2011 having finished my college classes, with nothing but a [second] thesis left to write, i search for a spring internship. philosophy isn’t exactly practical by the world’s definition and i felt i should have something meaty on my resume. feminist theory was dominating my academic life and i thought it would be incredible to find an organization where i could give my analytical framework something to chew on. what did i find? the consortium on gender, security and human rights at u-mass boston. perfect! this could launch me into a masters in gender concerns in the developing world, or feminist political theory. i could change the world with philosophy! fast forward: i help this organization do some incredible work. i learn how much i know. and, more significantly, how much i don’t. i realize that i may not be (at least not yet) the right kind of person to jump into the things i was so fired-up about. okay, grad school on hold. i need a job… remember that college i didn’t really want to go to? well, they have a job posting website. some people in alaska who were looking for someone to run their bed & breakfast decided to advertise on that site. i saw it. i wanted it. more importantly, God wanted it.

how can i doubt? how can i fear? in 9 years God worked miraculous opportunities and blessings in my life, of which these are only a few of the more pretty sounding ones. how can i justify being anything but willing for where i am led next? through the fire, the dark, the pain (of which i know so little). for if God can shower such wonder and deliver such joy out of such little sacrifice and tribulation, think of what He can work from utter dependence and submission! His largest obstacle is me.

WOW. that was not where i was planning on going at all with this post. i was simply going to tell you all my travel plans… whoops :) sorry if you just learned way more about my life than you ever wanted to. but it never hurts to celebrate how God works.

let’s count this as a part one discussion of my departure. this was the part where i wrote about what i think on when i fear for the unknown of the future: the paths of the past. although, david hume would be very disappointed in me expecting the future to follow the same patterns of the past without direct observations of the causal connection between trusting God and leading a fulfilling life. but i suppose that’s the definition of faith. it leaves plenty of room for miracles.