Today’s just been one of those days.
You know what I’m talking about: an awake at midnight, can’t crawl out of bed, things go wrong and the rights can’t overwhelm the wrongs and you’re just tired all day long. But you know what? God’s present on ‘those days’ too.
Like any good disaster, mine precipitated last night when I looked at my schedule to realize that the geology test I though was on Thursday was, in fact today. So time that would have been dedicated to one project had to get siphoned to studying for a major exam. Then I got to move on to the project I’d budgeted time for (two hours later, of course) and found that it wasn’t going to be as simple as I’d hoped. Of course. So finally I threw my hands in the air and—knot of dread still securely tied in my stomach—fell into bed. (I really need to get to the point of realizing that sleep isn’t the monster I sometimes think that it is.)
So that’s the backstory.
This morning I woke up on time, did all the things I needed to get done in order to go out in public without humiliating myself (I even had the common sense to devise the strategy of wearing a short dress in order to keep myself alert and awake), and muttered under my breath about the fact that this would have to be the day that the Irish hymn writers, Keith and Kristyn Getty, were talking in chapel because I obviously would not be going for any other reason because it’s too early and who needs chapel credits and…yeah. You name it, I was disgruntled about it.
But chapel really was good, and the music was nice, and I made it out in plenty of time to leisurely walk to geology. Where I took that darn exam. And did fine on it. (I think. There’s always the chance that my brain interpreted words wrong and I tried to write an essay on the scantron, but I’m pretty sure that I kept my wits about me and pulled off an A. Time will tell.) Because it was a test day, an hour and twenty minute class period was shortened to twenty minutes. Celebration point, yeah?!
So the unfinished assignments of last night were looming over my head and so, like any good college student, I came back to my room and fell asleep until lunch. I put off going to lunch until almost the possible minute…only to get to the caf and realize my student ID was in my room (from after the gosh-awful fumble of trying to get into my room after geology…). Dash across campus times two and I found out that they were having a fiesta for lunch…meaning no pizza…meaning that eating took twice as long…meaning that I was about 45 seconds late to a class that sounds like it started about 120 seconds early. Not this girl’s favorite way to do anything.
That class was fine, and so was the next one—except that some people need to respect the teacher and just learn how to shut their mouths. And I basically found out that all but one of my ‘sources’ for my outline (due on Thursday) are worthless and that maybe my topic isn’t so applicable to everyone but I don’t care because it’s too late to entirely start over and I know from experience that it’s all about how you pitch things. (Have you ever heard how I got six little children to help me shovel mud out of my horse’s pen on Thanksgiving? I tell you, you’ve just gotta know how to sell it.)
Break and dinner were tolerable. (Though I have no idea what I ate…oh, yeah, a cheeseburger and cold French fries. So healthy.) I mean, I was stressed out of my mind and ready to burst into tears at the slightest provocation (so thankful for friends who love me when I’m messy), but I survived without incident and remembered my ID card when necessary.
And then came the bane of my existence: my 5:30-7pm fitness class. Scheduling that class is probably the worst decision I’ve made in my entire life (besides that one time where I dropped the Christmas tree box on Abbie not knowing whether or not she’d die and that one time where I threw the cat in the pool and somehow thought I wouldn’t get into trouble for it). By the end of the day, I’m drained emotionally and physically. And I hate fitness anyway. This is the formula for absolute grotesqueness. Plus I had to change out of my super cute dress into sports shorts and a t-shirt—not awful but not darling.
I survived fitness class. And had just enough time to dash over to the Getty concert in the auditorium.
People from all over town (maybe even out of town; I don’t know) came to see the Gettys. In fact, the older couple in front of me kept me smiling the entire time by holding hands almost constantly. But the thing was, they all had dressed up for the event, whereas I had dressed down for class.
I like to dress up.
I really like to dress up any time I attend anything in a theater.
And, even if no one else noticed, I felt totally out of place tonight.
Yet…it was a corporate worship service of sorts. I don’t have to fit in. Because we are the church. The vibrant, diverse body of Christ. In all our brokenness from all our walks of life. Which is crazy beautiful. And has nothing to do with whether I was in heels or in sneakers.
I can’t say that I was able to relax entirely. Not the whole time. But I was able to worship my Creator with words both familiar and new. And a couple of times I even forgot that I was underdressed and surrounded by people I’ve never met. And even though I only made it through half of the concert before I escaped to come back to my room to work on the troublesome homework I’m still behind on, it was a wonderful close to my day in the world.
I get so caught up in appearances. In plans. In wanting everything to be perfect.
And when I’m caught up in those things, I forget the things that really matter:
I am loved, I am redeemed, and I have purpose outside of surviving.
Tomorrow is going to be another battle against anxiety and too-high expectations. But tomorrow is also a new day, a new chance to define my focus and my priorities.
For now, though, I have an outline to prepare. And two exams to study for. And sleep to fit in there somewhere.
Goodnight, dear world. Be brave. Stay focused. And ever be distinctly you.
By Faith by Keith and Kristyn Getty