Today, one of my best friends called me and told me the thing I needed to hear:
It sucks that you didn’t get that job. You should have. It is okay to be upset about it.
My boyfriend texted me the thing I needed to hear:
It sucks that you didn’t get that job. I know you really wanted it. Don’t give up.
I am glad I have people like that in my life. Because it sucks. And I want to be upset. And I don’t want to give up.
I started searching for jobs in September. I was proactive: I met with career services, I started paying attention to my LinkedIn profile, I made dozens of copies of my resume, I wrote cover letters until my eyes crossed. I was light years ahead of my classmates. And that made me proud.
So when people ask me, two weeks before graduation, what are your plans? I tell them, I’ve had countless interviews, three rejections, and no offers. And then I stare at them, waiting for the words they’ll say next, the words that come from well-intentioned hearts, the words that everyone says, the words that I know, at my core, are probably true:
Oh, don’t worry. It’ll happen. You’re so amazing. It’s all in God’s hands. Trust God’s timing. God has something great planned.
And I think, yeah. That makes sense. That’s pretty easy to say. Because you’re employed. You have a place to live. You’ve done your time trusting.
As soon as I think it, I want to cringe. Because it sounds awful. It sounds faithless, angry, and envious. It sounds like someone who doesn’t deserve a job, or a plan, or a God who gives good things. It doesn’t sound like me.
But it’s what I feel sometimes. And I’m not sure how to reconcile it all – the things I feel with the things I know.
So I tell myself stories. I remind myself of the times I fell apart, the times I felt like dust. I tell the stories of the times God found me, when I was crouched crying on the floor of my bedroom, or driving too fast away from what made me angry, or lying in a field veiled in darkness, staring at stars and praying for time to stop.
The stories remind me that I am sometimes a faction warring against myself:
Look at all those times God plucked you from the ashes. Look how much of God’s time you’ve already used up. You deserve to wait and worry.
It is hard to silence a voice you’ve allowed to shout for so long.
When I was at camp, I used to hear this old story from a Native American tribe. A boy told his wise grandfather that sometimes he feels as though there are two wolves battling within him: a light wolf and a dark wolf. He asked his grandfather which wolf would win the battle.
The one you feed, said the grandfather.
I always thought the story was too simple. Surely life was not that easy – food is just one factor in a wolf’s strength. There were genetics, training, size – maybe it was inevitable that the light wolf lost. Maybe it was just too tired to keep fighting. Maybe the dark wolf was just too strong.
I do not want to let the dark wolf win my heart and strength away.
I am still learning how to believe in the simplicity of feeding the light wolf and trusting that it will win.
Perhaps the still learning is reconciliation enough, for now. I believe we have a God who allows us to lean into the still learning. So that’s what I’ll do, if I find it hard to say that I’m trusting, I’ll say that I’m leaning.
Leaning into the still learning. The still, quiet learning. The still, outstretched hand of a girl, holding food beneath the muzzle of a wolf who hasn’t truly eaten in a long time.
That will be my reconciliation, for now.