By: Samantha Cooney
Happy Almost Thanksgiving, revolutionaries, and most importantly, happy almost birthday to me!*
Being born on November 24th has definitely had its interesting facets, not the least of which is sharing my birthday with the great holiday of Thanksgiving. This has given all of my family a cop-out for the seasonal dinner table question “What are you thankful for?” for nearly nineteen years, as well as an excuse to always have stuffing with birthday cake in the most carbohydrate-intensive meal you’ve ever seen. It also provides for me a great opportunity to reflect on what the year has taught me. This year, Sam has learned a lot.
I came into college convinced that all I needed to accomplish was to maintain where I was at mentally, physically and spiritually at the end of high school. I really believed that I had everything figured out and that I had the capacity to take on adulthood by myself. It seemed to be reassuring at the time, but looking back, I can see how much stress that put on me. For example, I had never really used a physical alarm clock before, so over the course of one semester, I was late for work five times. Though my boss was very forgiving and I usually never missed anything terribly important, I would be furious with myself for days on end for setting my alarm for 9:00 p.m. instead of 9:00 a.m. My self worth was so deeply entrenched in my decisions that every critique I recieved or mistake I made was completely devastating. I refused to share many of my burdens, or would confess huge problems to people I barely knew in search of validation that I was doing the right thing. Neither one was particularly healthy.
Luckily, Jesus took notice and knew exactly what I needed. After a very anxious first semester, the Lord continued to put me in situations where I was totally out of my comfort zone, or uncertain of what might occur. Some were good and some were very, very scary. I spent my Christmas in the I.C.U. with my grandmother barely surviving a heart attack. I went to Chicago with my college youth group barely knowing anyone, and came back with a roommate for the next year. I flew solo to visit my best friend in Kansas, and then went on a spontaneous twelve hour road-trip to the other side of the state. I had to go through blood work and doctors visits all by myself. I worked at a dentist’s office over the summer, and I’m a literature major! Through all of this, I often had no other choice but to trust in God and his plan for my life, which can be incredibly difficult for a control freak like me. But the Lord worked with me where I was at, stretching me with each bizarre experience of adulthood he put in my path.
Freshman year Sam would never have anticipated that the very next fall she would be seeing a nutritionist, meeting with a therapist, and attending a bible study, and yet, here I am. I’ve learned I don’t have all the answers, and what a grace that is to know! Thank God we are not left to govern ourselves with our unfair standards and constant failures! My pride can be difficult to swallow, definitely, but having it shoved down my throat multiple times has shown me the value of asking for help. Adulthood is scary and weird and uncomfortable, and many situations are too overwhelming for one person to handle, which is why he created us to live in communion with Him and each other. We can all find a way to get through life as a community of believers in Someone bigger than ourselves, who is Love himself. It may seem simple, but it’s taken me eighteen years to learn, and for that I am forever thankful.
*Did I do that? Yes, yes I did.