Wednesday, June 25, 2008

stuff. {1}

I don’t think it is any secret: I LIKE STUFF. I mean, I’m trying my best not to carry on the packrat tradition in my family that was likely started by my great great grandpas uncle, twice-removed (yes, I’m pretty sure it has been in the family that long). But I’ll be honest in admitting that I do like stuff…I like having stuff. And it doesn’t even have to be brand new stuff. I still like stuff from thrift store & yard sales.

But at the same time I keep liking all this stuff, I’ve been growing a disdain for all of it for the last few months. I don’t want to be one of those old people who smell like moth balls and sit in their dining room sipping Foldgers among their newspapers from 1934 and rolled up gum wrappers they saved from their high school graduation ceremony. And I don’t want to be one of those families who has to rent a storage unit or buy a shed to store all my stuff in and ship it to the moon like I hear will happen in the future.

So I’m struggling with a bit of a conundrum. I really do like stuff….but I really do hate stuff. How is that for an oxy-moron??

And I’ve been struggling with it lately. During this week of “freedom” from my textbooks I’ve re-entered the public. (gasp!). and aside from realizing that the reason I was feeling frumpy (which explains why I was asked last week if I was a freaking 15-year-olds MOM!!!!!!!!!!) was because after two years in rural west Virginia I found joy in shopping in the clothing section at WalMart…aside from that little tidbit, I realized that there is just a lot of STUFF out there. And supporting an economy that gives half a million dollar housing loans to families who will obviously never be able to repay them (oh don’t even get me started on this housing “crisis”), supporting a market who tells me that I deserve a new car this weekend even though I already have a perfectly functional one sitting in my driveway…and buying into (literally) a world of retail that constantly tells me I’m just not good enough if I don’t have the newest and the best-est…..I’m just not convinced it is the best for my psyche, my faith, or my pocketbook.

The weirdest thing about my whole “buying” mindset is that I don’t find my motivation from dissatisfaction. I don’t look in my closet in the morning and feel like I need to buy another shirt because I don’t have anything to wear. I don’t walk into my living room and look around with disgust that I need something better or newer. Quite the contrary, actually. I’m totally satisfied with what we have. Completely okay… pleased in fact, with the contents of my closet.

So maybe it’s an underlying temptation…to be a better person all together, instead of just a better-dressed one. to have a more fulfilling life/vocation/marriage by filling it up with more stuff.

And I’m gonna work on it…..or work on resisting it, I guess.

the end.

So. I’m done. And it is a bit of a weird feeling. I’ve wandered around for the last 4 days wondering what to do with myself…learning, all over again, how to spend my time sans studying.
My test was hard. Challenging. Mind-blowingly long. And I’ve come to the conclusion that it will be by God’s grace alone that I pass. I chose to spend my study time memorizing things that didn’t make their way onto my test. And I ended up arbitrarily guessing on more questions than I’d like to remember. Not to mention all those questions out of my 400 I had to answer in the 8 hours I spent on my tooshie in an uncomfortable chair that were completely new to me…I’m pretty sure I learned a few new vocabulary words; who knew that borborygmi was the sound made by moving gas??

I realized something two days before the tests…when I was deep in my trance of studying. I hadn’t slept well, thanks to my bizarre dreams and inability to let myself relax when my head hit the pillow. And aside from the insanity plea that I considered using as an out from this whole crazy test-taking experience, I came to one conclusion:

God doesn’t care about the score of this test. He doesn’t care that I listened to 16+ hours of lecture in one week. He doesn’t care that I got 16 hours of sleep in 7 days. And He doesn’t care that I spent 8 hours being watched with 3 video cameras, surrendering my digitally-monitored finger prints every time I had to pee. He doesn’t care about all that.

What He does care about, however, is how much I TRUST Him. Which, as you very well know has been a challenge for me this year. But as I was sitting there, filling my brain with tidbits about poop & parasites & pathologies that are more rare than hermaphrodites, I was reminded, once again, that God has already accounted for all my mistakes. And I’ve got to trust that He has the best in mind for me. Because although I’d argue that sitting through that 8 hour painstakingly boring test again isn’t the best for my character (or my backside, which as grown larger during my studies), He might disagree with my measley Earthling opinion.

And I’ve got to accept that.

So, for those who don’t really believe that God is all-giving and all-good and all-knowing, the concept that have given up the score of what could be the most important test of my life to something that isn’t visible or touchable or hear-able may seem like I have, in fact, given into that insanity plea that I mentioned earlier (paranoid schizophrenia, perhaps??). But for me, I’ve got to remember that passing this test—or failing it, for that matter—isn’t the end of the world. There is an end to this world, however. And that day when I stand before my maker, I want to be able to proclaim that I TRUSTED HIM ENOUGH to realize that failing the medical board exams wasn’t the end of my Earthly life.

So we’ll see what happens. I’m supposed to get my scores back in mid-August. And being true to my usual perspective, I’m preparing myself for the worst. And anything better than the worst will be a pleasant surprise….

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