The past couple weeks have been a whirlwind of activity. Since getting engaged, we’ve been working through every weekend making sure that we get everything ready to send out Save-the-Dates, setting up all the wedding preparations, and figuring out everything that needs to get done, and when it needs to get done, in 2016. On top of that, the fiance and I have been looking for our first house together. As of right now, we are under contract on a house, but the inspection didn’t go as well as we had hoped. Pending whether or not some of our issues can be fixed by closing, it looks like we might have to start the whole process over again and our dream of closing on a house before the end of the year goes out the window.
It’s easy at times like this to become discouraged. You build up all of these expectations for yourself and the moment that something goes wrong it feels like nothing will ever go right again. It happens in my writing career all the time- a short story I love doesn’t get published, a book release doesn’t have me reach any best-sellers lists, a beta reader tells me that they hate my favorite character in one of my projects-in-progress, I get stalled in my edits. It’s so easy to let myself take these things as proof that I’m not cut out for these kinds of things- to be an author, to be an adult.
As a Catholic, I’ve just entered in to the season of Advent. These four weeks before the Christmas season begins symbolize the period of waiting before the birth of the Savior. They symbolize desire, waiting, patience, preparation and readiness. I feel like I could learn a little from Mary, here, to apply to my own unease- as a consecrated virgin she was suddenly told she was going to have a baby that no one had planned for, that she was going to have to rely on Joesph to protect her, and then because of the census they were going to have to travel a long distance, while she was pregnant, so that she could have birth far from her family. And in between that she even went to visit her cousin who was also pregnant. That’s a lot of ups and downs in preparation for a pretty big up that wouldn’t come until nine months of anxiety and suffering.
So this Advent, I’m going to practice my patience. I’m going to pray for the Virgin’s help in calming the storms currently raging in my heart. I’m going to pray that she helps me both stick to my plans as best I can, but also be able to let them go when I need to.
Whether or not you are Catholic or Christian, I do think that this time before Christmas, before the end of the year, is a good time for this kind of reflection. Take a look back at all the plans you made for 2015. How many of them worked out for you? How many of them fell apart, only for better things to fall together? How many were you unable to recover from? How could you better enjoy the moment in the coming year? To go with the flow both in your daily life and in your career? The truth is that we can make all of the plans we want, and life is still going to go the way it’s going to go regardless of whether or not it fits into your plans. To be prepared without being unmoving, to be patient but not overly stubborn is a gift. One that I think is imperative to both living as a good, well-centered person and to having a good, healthy career.
What do you think, readers?