Friday, November 5, 2010

Not What I Had in Mind

Over the summer my sister, Ally, got a job working as a nurse in Maryland. She's living at home for the time being so that she can save money and get herself established. Her job pays well, she's able to pay her bills and by all accounts she's a real adult. Recently I was having a conversation with a guy that I've asked to mentor me while I'm in Madrid. He asked me a simple question about where I thought my life would be a year from now and all of a sudden I found myself talking about Ally. I started to talk about how well she is doing for herself and how I feel like a bit of a disaster because I'm the older brother who doesn't have a career or even any prospects for a career. He was quick to point out the pride that was oozing from that statement. It isn't easy for me to feel so lost compared to my little sister, in spite of how proud I am of her.

If I put aside my pride, what I'm discovering is that I had a life all planned out for myself and it has been more difficult than I thought to end up somewhere different. While all of us are very happy here in Madrid, every once in a while someone will idly say something along the lines of "it would be nice to have some consistency". I remember saying to my dad last year during a very stressful time that I felt like I was almost finished with this life of running around and that soon I would be back in Maryland with the family for good. It seemed like such a nice thought at the time. I wanted to move back to the United States where I feel most at home, find a job that would put an end to this paycheck to paycheck life and be around my family. I have always talked with excitement about the time when my best friend Dan and I would finally get to live close to each other. What I am realizing is that maybe that wasn't God's plan for me after all, maybe it was my plan. In my mind, if I wasn't achieving these things it would mean that God had for some reason chosen not to bless me. The problem is, it's hard to imagine someone more blessed than I am right now.

I have an awesome church community here in Madrid, full of incredibly fun people. They can't take the place of my biological family, but they provide a sense of love and belonging for me while I'm here. I had always hoped that by now Dan and I would be living close to each other, serving at church together, watching football together, fishing together, encouraging each other and doing whatever other fun things. Well, it hasn't been God's plan for that to happen just yet, but He has put some amazing guy friends in my life here who I have a great time with. I have made some lasting friendships here with some guys who make me laugh harder than I ever have before and who have become like brothers. I might not make much money while I'm here, but I'm definitely very wealthy in my relationships. I've even found myself in a relationship with a girl who's pretty much the bees knees.

I can't look at any part of my life and say that there is something better waiting for me anywhere else. That's a scary thought for me because it goes against everything I thought was going to happen to me. However, what my mentor helped me see is that God never guarantees that we will find that job stability and consistency that we are looking for. If anything, He warns that true happiness can't be found in those things. I haven't had any real money troubles since arriving in Madrid, there have only been times when my faith was too small to give control to God. I am starting to realize that even though I still long to be with my family and people like Dan, I can't discount the amazing things happening in my life. Maybe I will always live this way, never knowing what's next or how things are going to play out. But would that be such a bad thing? If the last year has been any indication, I have nothing to fear.