Generally Relevant Experience.

Today was GRE day, and it was a day full of being mindful of God’s hand in my life. From the get go, I woke up with a slightly stuffed nose and a cough, but soon after I finished brushing my teeth, breathing deeply cleared my nasal passages – thank You, Lord.  I checked my phone and had received a few text messages from my friends with prayers and well wishes – thank You, Lord.  I went downstairs to make myself breakfast, but found that my mom had already made breakfast for me – thank You, Lord.  I checked how long the commute would take after using Google a few days ago to predict the commute time, and I found that the prediction was way off mark; it would only take me twenty-two minutes as opposed to the predicted forty-five to fifty minutes – thank You, Lord.  After arriving at the testing center, I was able to find the testing center without too much hassle, and I ventured into the room at 8:15 a.m.  After locking up all my belongings and entering the exam room, I found myself confronted with the computer screen I’d be looking at for the next few hours.  Taking a moment to pray, I was overcome by the thought of all the people who had been praying for me with regards to the exam – thank You, Lord.  I began the test, and found the first essay topic fairly accessible, finishing with ten seconds left – thank You, Lord.  In each of the one-minute periods following the sections, I took time to quickly pray and ask that I be more focused on His glory than on my results, thanking Him for surrounding me with family who would be praying for me and standing with me as I took the test.  The next essay was also fairly straightforward, and I finished with an extra two minutes – thank You, Lord.

The rest of the test was filled with prayer before and during each section, and at times of frustration or confusion, I felt encouraged when I thought about the blessing that existed in having a praying family.  Eventually, I finished the test, got my scores, and walked out.  I was really satisfied with my scores, and I found that my heart was full of praise; as I started my car, the song that was playing on the radio was “10,000 Reasons,” and I thought it couldn’t have been more fitting.  However, as I listened to the song and sang along, I began to realize that so much of the day had been in God’s hands from the beginning.  I also realized how much bargaining I had done with God prior to the test, and felt deeply that I was, once again, not given what I deserved.  I didn’t deserve the scores I had gotten because I really hadn’t worked that hard.  I didn’t deserve the mercy that was evident – and that I was mindful of – throughout the day.  And yet, God was pleased to guide me along the path He had for me.  In the depth of my embarrassed acceptance of God’s mercy, I found myself making new promises that I wouldn’t keep, and I realized that God had mercy not because of what I had done, but because His love was and is for who I am.  Thank You, Lord, for loving me despite myself and for being faithful in every season of my life.

Well Taco.

It was a strange thing when I found myself in a position where I was driving home in silence and the urge to eat hit me, but the hour was just advanced enough for most stores to close their doors to the public.  Immediately, my mind started racing to various fast food options. Burger King was the first one that came to mind, perhaps to the dismay of the general public. Yes, I am aware that their food may very well be microwaved.  Yes, I know that there are other fast food restaurants in the area.  But, Burger King has established itself amidst my formative memories as one of the first establishments I was able to independently travel to and sit down in.  As I started driving down the road to Burger King, Kariya, a hot-pot, Korean BBQ fusion (wow that’s a lot of commas), lit my decision-making up with its neon signs.  Despite being supremely mediocre, it seemed interesting to try and eat there alone without feeling uncomfortable (due to the other patrons indubitably preconceiving notions about me and my life).  I performed a textbook ninety degree turn into the plaza and parked.  I told the hostess that I would be forming a party of one, which prompted her to inform me that single parties are to be made more miserable with an additional charge of five dollars. I was not that desperate to see both my spirits and my funds dwindle into smoke, so I politely (I hope) retreated back to my vehicle.  Isn’t it enough of a price to eat alone in a restaurant stocked to the brim with liveliness and camaraderie?  The aghast hole (read: gaping) that I reckoned to be my hunger was reconfigured in this moment of indignant self-awareness.  I wasn’t hungry; I was lonely.  In that moment, I realized: Lord, I am the woman at the well.  There is a hole in me that I presently had been trying to fill with food, and it’s no wonder it wasn’t working.  I know what caused the hole, but I hadn’t remembered or thought about its existence for a while until tonight.  Maybe it was the silence.  I was far too tired to commit to furthering the line of thought, so I settled on getting some Del Taco since I had already driven back and forth no further than five miles of my house.  Lord, I need healing, and I’m sorry for not following Your prescription.  I know what I’m supposed to do to fill the hole, but I need more time I guess. Forgive me.