Have you ever received a gift that was wrapped so tightly, it was almost exhausting to get to? Layers of paper, tape, string, the occasional box within a box, and who knows what else? Sometimes blessings come to us like this too.
For me, this past year has been a period of transition. Not only that, but it seems there have been periods of transition within periods of transition. In the grand scheme of things, my plans may sound simple: graduate, find a job, and get married. But, when I think about it, in the past year I’ve finished up my bachelor’s degree, been on my second humanitarian trip to Honduras, gotten my first “big girl” job, moved, moved again, gotten another job, planned a wedding…and I still have yet to move a third time, explore my next professional venture and finally say “I do.”
Even though I am working toward my goals in life, I have felt overwhelmed at times. My highly well-organized, multitasking personality has been put into overdrive. Sometimes, at the end of the day, I find that my mind has been wandering to the future with worry or planning, instead of living in the present. One tactic that I’m developing to conquer any stress is to think of what I have gained, and will gain, by accomplishing my goals and moving forward.
First, I’ve been blessed to have a job I love. Even the word “job,” with its sometimes negative connotations of drudgery seems like a misnomer for what I am doing. When I enter the elementary school each morning, my eyes are not on the clock, my mind isn’t on the paycheck, and I am not impatient to get home. I’ve never truly experienced that in any job before. After I’ve ushered the last student onto the bus, I realize that I’ve thrown my entire self into my time with my students. This is when I most live in the present. God has blessed me, and I can only pray that He will bless me again with my next position.
The greatest blessing God has granted me in my life is my future husband. The other day, when my stress and worry had crept in, he reminded me that in our marriage vows we’ll promise to stay with each other in good times, and in bad. We’ve shared plenty of good times in the more than two years we’ve been together, but I’m reminded that we’ve grown even closer during this transition because we’ve worked through the tough times. He’s also had to move, and has worked diligently in his first year of dental school. We’ve both seen a lot of changes, but we chose these changes to build our new life together. While we’ve grown closer to each other, we’ve also further entwined our faith into our relationship, and God has not let us go through these changes alone.
These blessings, among others – my family, my soon-to-be family, my friends, long runs through the beautiful hills, the smiles of students when they’ve read a difficult passage, vanilla soy lattes – are the ones that I’m making a list of. In White Christmas, Bing Crosby sings that we should “count our blessings” to help us fall sleep at night. I want to count my blessings upon waking, throughout the day, and before bed to remind myself that change is a gift, though sometimes you have to tear through the thick layers of wrapping to reveal the beauty.