There was one week in December when I felt like everything went wrong.
In one week, I was stressed out by graduate school applications, a mentor’s forgetfulness, a persistent ant problem in my room, waves of loneliness, reading into how I was forgotten in the Christmas party staff email, being stood up by a friend on a catch-up Skype session after waking up extra early, and locking myself out of my room at the CASA.
And when I thought the week’s hiccups were over, NJ Transit also turned against me Saturday morning. In line with the misfortunate events of the week, there was a road closure on 206—the exact segment where the 606 bus stops closest to the CASA. I called NJ Transit to ask of the 606 Bus’s detour route, but they knew nothing about it. I was stressed out. Where on 206 was the Bus going to return to its route? Feeling jaded by my luck this week, I didn’t want to risk it. So, to ensure the bus came by, I marched 1 mile up to a “big” bus stop, Rider University. And although the bus was 20 minutes late, it did come.
All of these frustrations built up, and felt very personal. Why me? Why was everything going wrong? As I walked towards Rider, I lost my patience, and grumbled to God: “Really? After everything this week? I’m upset with you.”
In retrospect, I see how most of this is funny. For example, I obviously let my wild imagination, my ego, and newcomer status at CFJ read into the fact that I was excluded in the email to the staff Christmas party. Mistakes happen, and I was kindly reminded I make them too. I made my own mistake and locked all five of my keys in my room in the CASA, and I couldn’t get inside. I am happy to share I now hide a spare key.
Moreover, I acknowledge that that most of my experiences from that week were first-world problems, and how lucky I was to have help. Despite the ants that took over my room for two nights, I was lucky to enough to have a co-worker take me to Shop Rite so I can buy proper supplies (thanks again, Sabina!), and I was able to sleep comfortably in another room at the CASA while I fumigated my room two nights in a row. My friend (who was student teaching over in Princeton) came by to help see if there was a way I could get into my room, without a key (thanks again!). Even though I marched up to Rider, I could have trusted that the bus would have come to the subsequent stop and I was lucky that it was a relatively warm December day.
Yet, all of things going wrong culminated to doubts, frustration, and anger directed at God. While rationally I knew it wasn’t God’s fault, but being the flawed, human creature I am, I couldn’t help but question why God would let so many things go wrong. Ironically enough, it was in my anger I noticed how much I had come to rely on God.
During these first few months, I have had to depend on God in a way I have never had before. In college, it was very easy to forget God’s role in my academic work and the ease of campus life. Yet, this service year has opened my eyes to how often God does, in fact, answer my prayers on a daily basis: rides to the supermarket (thanks Sabina and Tara); leftovers from Soups and Psalms when I am running low on food; or even simply, the punctual arrival of the 606.
As I was reminded in this one week, the creatures of this world (including myself) are imperfect. In showing me my own and others’ limitations, God illustrates how He is the only one that can never disappoint me. And unlike me, God never loses his patience. He keeps teaching me the same lesson — to trust and rely on Him foremost.
And I have witnessed God’s love in the little things. #GodisGood