Archive for January, 2010

TrustinGod

Well, the new year is well on its way, but already I’ve been challenged. I suppose that it’s just God giving me opportunities to work on one of my new year’s resolutions. In order for this to make sense to you, let me back up a bit. A few weeks into January, my paternal grandmother was admitted to the hospital and died a few days later. As a result, it became apparent that I would need to travel to Kansas City for the funeral. However, I had learned that week that I was going to be in Colorado again for work. I was fortunate that these two events did not intersect, but there still remained a bit of  a logistical issue in making sure that I was in the right place at the right times. I flew out to Kansas City on a slightly reduced bereavement fare which I probably wouldn’t have gotten had I not signed up for some frequent flier programs last year in relation to work. The problem on that day was that Alabama had recently come into some weather that had produced ice on some of the roads. On my way to the airport, I had to take a less direct route, because the exit to the highway that I was used to taking was blocked off. I suddenly panicked. I immediately thought up about 3 different ways to get to the airport, some of which required a bit of luck. Fortunately, I was able to make it to the airport on time, and into Kansas City at a somewhat reasonable time considering that I had to work that Friday.

The flights back to Huntsville are what really had me worried. Since I had already booked my trip to Colorado through the government’s system I didn’t want to try and adjust anything and risk canceling any flights. I also didn’t want to have to pack for two different occasions (work and family) in the same suitcase. As a result, I had to get back into Huntsville early enough that I could get to my car, move it out of the parking lot that it was in and re-park it so that I could get reimbursed for just the Colorado trip, switch suitcases and get back on a plane headed to Colorado. The problem with making this all work out was that I had a connecting flight from Kansas City to Huntsville in Atlanta. The layover for the connection was 50 minutes. Since most flights start boarding about 30 minutes before they leave, this made my time-frame about 20 minutes. So what did we do on the tarmac in Kansas City? We sat there for about 40 minutes as we waited for someone to come in and fill the toilets with the fluid they needed to work. To top things off, I was seated in the farthest back seat of the plane. I spent most of the flight freaking out that I would miss my connection and not get to Huntsville in time for my work trip.

Fortunately, I landed in Atlanta, the pilot told people to wait in their seat if they didn’t have a connecting flight or if their connecting flight was later, which gave me enough time to literally run from the gate I landed at to the gate I needed to be at ten gates away. I came up to the counter for the Huntsville flight and arrived just in time to board and get back with plenty of time to spare before my Colorado flight. By the end of that day, I had been in 5 different cities, taken 3 different flights and spent more than 12 hours driving, in an airport or in an airplane. Exhausting to say the least on every level.

Just to add the icing to the cake, I had recently learned that my first rotation for work (which is coming up in February) would be in Columbia, Maryland at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab for six months. I am quite excited for this opportunity, but not in the logistics that go with it. I was contacted by the department that would be in charge of this rotation and from the way that they worded their comments, made it sound like I would have to actually move to Columbia for six months. This, I did not want. I was under the impression that I would spend a lot of time there, but that it would be an extended business trip, not an actual move. An actual move would mean that I’d have to pack up everything, go find an apartment in Maryland, and then move back to Huntsville in six months and hope that there would still be available apartments in my current complex. Luckily, my mentor and supervisor confirmed that the rotation would be an extended business trip and not an actual move, which gave me some encouragement.

I’m sure by now you’re wondering as to how this fits in with the title of this post. For a long time now, I’ve had issues trusting God’s guidance in my life. As an engineer, I like to see a master plan. A set of steps that I can follow and end up where I need to be. As a result, I usually try and make my own plans for my life. These plans sometimes work out, but the majority of them are redirected. I constantly worry about things that I have no control over. I can sit in the back of an airplane and fret about missing a connecting flight, even though down on the ground there were plenty of flights still going to Huntsville and I would have been on one of them eventually, even if I had missed the connection. I can get caught in some traffic after seeing that the exit I need to take is closed because of weather and freak out that I won’t be able to get to the airport at all, after which I end up taking the first alternate route and get to the airport with plenty of time to spare. I can stress over having to pick up my life and put it on hold for six months while I have an experience that I’m sure I won’t regret having, despite wanting other things for my life (like the search for a girlfriend, for instance). God keeps forcing me to trust His judgment. He puts me in situations that make me need to trust in His plan. It’s a struggle that I’ve had, and I just need to let go of control. Saying it is easy, but practicing that simplicity is quite difficult. For now all I can do is pray that I can hear His voice and know what I must do.

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ResolutionarYear

Ready for the new Year

Every 12 months we inevitably come upon it once again. The new year. For most, nothing changes. Sure, in their minds they have illusions of grandeur on what they expect to accomplish in the next year. However, most of the time there is never any concrete way to hold to any new resolutions. I say this because I have been one of those people for many years. Year after year I mentally put myself towards some resolution or other, but inevitably I’ll return to old habits or drop the new ones. Best case scenario is that I’ve made a little dent, but nothing permanent. This is probably due to not actually cementing my resolutions to anything. There are no papers with my goals written on them. There are no computerized documents outlining my plans. Nothing.

 

Until now.

For the last 5 years, I’ve been moving around a lot. Different apartments, different roommates. I’ve not stayed in a single place for an entire year, and have been unable to really put any roots down since I went to college. I’ve always been in transition. 2009 was my last year of transition. I graduated college with a Masters Degree, I moved out to Huntsville, I started my first real job. I even got to transition from someone who had never experienced a relationship to someone who was wiser for the wear. Having an apartment where I’ll be staying for a whole year has somehow given me the sense of being grounded. Now I’ve got a concrete spot where I can always come back and re-orient myself if I need to. 2010 is my year. 2010 is the beginning.

In order to get to this new beginning, I had some issues I had to wrap up at the end of 2009. After 3 months of running various scenarios through my mind, I learned that my ex-girlfriend had already moved on to a new relationship. Since I still had not heard her side of the story, I gave an ultimatum. Luckily, now that I have the whole picture, I have been able to obtain my closure. There is peace where there once was angst. Calm, where there once was pain and heartbreak. We have decided that it would be best if we just reset by one whole year, when we were two individuals who were merely acquaintances with a few mutual friends. In my recent memory, the two times that I’ve had to go through very difficult emotional situations resulted from not doing my homework beforehand. Hopefully I don’t have to go through it a third time. Now I know that I need to know more about a person before I enter into any sort of close relationship with them (be it roommate or girlfriend). Now that I’ve essentially gotten a clean slate, it’s time to delve into the chalk.

Bad habits are usually the highest on most people’s resolution lists, and this year is no different for me. Part of the problem with bad habits is that sometimes there is no consequence for their actions, or at least no negative consequences. Along with the one vice that I normally put on my mental list, I’ve added a few more that should (at the very least) make me less unattractive. In fact, I’ve already started on one of them around mid-December. I’ve had this bad habit for as long as I can remember: biting my nails. I usually do it because I’m nervous or bored. Then I just stopped. Sure, some days are difficult, and it feels really weird to have fingernails again, but it’s all for the best. I also need to find a local dentist and physician as well, so that I can keep my health up in the coming year.

Gaining new, good habits is always the flip side of the resolution coin. I’ll try and continue working out twice a week, since I’ve actually seen some results from it. Similarly, I’ll keep from gaining any weight, as I now have more control over what food I have around me (although, if I lost about 15 pounds, that wouldn’t be bad either). While we’re on the topic of food, I have recently come into possession of the family cook book and have realized that I’ve been eating the same things for the last six months. This year, I’m going to try and cook at least one new thing each week so as to figure out what sort of cooking equipment I may be missing from my kitchen, and to perhaps use to add to my skill set to woo some lucky woman someday.

Speaking of books I haven’t read (again, the cook book being one of them), I’ve always felt a little guilty having some books in my bookcase that I haven’t read yet. Luckily the number of these unread books is only about 20, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to knock a few out this year. The same goes with some of the DVDs that I have. Although, for the past year or so I’ve had a lot of media input and really need to get back into doing some output. I’d like to get back to writing the novel I started in college, and I’d also like to participate in the National Novel Writing Month this year as well. Once I get a digital camcorder, I’ll also move back into making movies again. I’ve already got ideas for two short films, which is a good place to start the year. Maybe I’ll even put forth some initiative and actually get into acting in a play this year as well.

Lastly, one of the parts of my spiritual life that I’ve neglected until recently has been prayer. I’ve never really been good at it and as such have only used it when I am in desperate times of need. When I was flying back from Christmas vacation, I happened to watch a shooting star fly across the sky. I’m not really one for wishes, but I thought to myself to instead send a little prayer up to God. I figure if something as simple as attaching my prayer to a shooting star, then it wouldn’t be so difficult to start praying more often. After all, there’s no one in this one bedroom apartment but me and Him. In my daily Bible reading, I came across Luke 11:9-10, which says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” I have written down this verse and taped it to my front door to remind me that I’m only as blessed as the blessings I ask for. This is where my resolution of more prayer will hopefully come in handy.

I’ve already seen that I’ve had to do a lot of growing up even in the last six months, so it will be interesting to see what the new year will bring. 2010 is my fresh start, and I’m looking forward to seeing what I will have conquered in the next 12 months.