Sunday, May 1, 2016

What my future looks like

It's been two years and eight months since I started my PhD program. I am almost done. I'm doing everything I can to complete my dissertation and submit it by my birthday this year--September 9. That will be exactly three years and one week from when I began. 

Don't ask me what is next. I don't know. I'm waiting for further inspiration from Heaven. 

And by waiting, I mean doing everything I can to find out :)

Sometimes I get discouraged and wonder if all the sacrifice and struggle and tears and pain and tiredness and loneliness and separation from loved ones and home and Mexican food is worth it. Sometimes I forget why I'm doing it. 

Last year, I attended the opening night of a friends PhD project exhibit. She did hers in arts and media, so she was able to display what she had done and invite friends and family to come. It was an emotional night for me. I was at a low point in my own life and studies, where I felt stuck and depressed, overloaded and under-cared for. I was homesick and missed my family--missed just being in a place where I felt 100% comfortable. And not always so cold! As I left that night, I wrote the following thoughts/poem down:

Why do we do it?
Why all the long days, the short nights, the tears and frustration
and feelings of failure?
Why the unanswered calls, missed events, and unreplied emails?
Why the sacrifices of time and labor and mental and emotional energy?
Why the pain?

For them.

For those who came before.
For those whose lives and own hard work shaped our opportunities, before we were born.
For those whose own long days and short nights nurtured us, returned us to health, and built us.
For those whose own climb enabled us to start further ahead.
For those whose names and blood and torches we carry.
For those who provide the shoulders on which we stand.
To show our gratitude, our respect.
They are the reason we can.

And we do it for those who will come after us, too. 
For my children, unborn.
So that they will know that their mother believed in education
and hard work, 
and sacrifice.
And giving your all for a cause you believe in,
in being honest and true,
living with integrity,
trusting the Lord,
and putting your heart into everything you do.
That they, because of my climb, will be further ahead themselves.

That's why we do it.

That's why it's worth it.

Sometimes, in the struggle, I forget the blessings. But I don't want to forget. I don't want to forget that the life I'm living now is the life I prayed and fasted for, the life I worked for, and the experiences I wanted. I do want them. And I do love it. I truly, truly do. Is it worth the sacrifice of time with loved ones, family, and friends? For me, that is the hardest question to answer. I think it is yes, when it is done for the right reasons, and to follow the Spirit. For me, I wouldn't have come this far if I didn't feel led in this direction to start with. Blessings and peace I receive witness to me that it's right. And someday soon, this mountainous ascent will be finished, and there will be a new trail to start on. I am looking forward to that day, but I'm also enjoying the views from here. What great lives we have to live. Life is a great reason to rejoice.