Contentment and Gratitude

Here’s the truth – I’ve been feeling restless and antsy. I’m jaded from school and work. Most days, as I trudge back to my apartment after a long day of classes, homework, and work, I think of the “what ifs”. What if I don’t have to work to pay the bills? What if all I need to do is focus on school? What if I have my friends with me instead of hundreds of miles across the oceans? What if I’m more outgoing? What if I transfer to a cheaper college? What if…? What if…?

As always, it’s not long before my conscience starts pricking me. I hear it telling me to be grateful, to appreciate the opportunities I have. In my mind, I know I should appreciate them. There are many girls my age who would never get a chance to go to college. But my heart is reluctant to be grateful. My wanderlust tugs on my focus, and I want to leave the monotony for greener pastures.

I spent yesterday working on my American Studies paper, and today was spent working on my Western Civilization History paper. After a day of sitting in front of my laptop, poring over books, and churning out pages, I was frazzled, restless, and tired.

I took a walk. The drivers, lone biker, and people who walked past me probably thought there was a deranged person on the loose in campus. My hair was wet from the shower I had just taken, and I was clad in a hoodie and blue-spotted pajama pants. To complete my odd outfit, I was wearing blue socks with my Birkenstock-like sandals. I could have easily won the Most Unfashionable Award. In my defense though, all I wanted to do was walk. It was 55 degrees Fahrenheit, and I couldn’t be bothered to dress up.

I walked to Stubblefield Chapel, just down the road from my apartment. As I sank down on the bench just outside the gazebo, I felt even more restless. I wished I was back in a city, where everything was loud, a hive of activity, and there was always something to do. I forced myself to put aside my cellphone, felt myself relaxing, and breathed in the cool air.

stubblefield chapel arch and raley chapel steeple

Of course, I wouldn’t be Evangeline if I didn’t have random thoughts flitting through my mind. Thoughts like… “I wonder how many brides have walked under this arch. Wow, Raley Chapel’s steeple has very bright white lighting.”

I felt calm, contented, at peace, and accomplished for the first time in a long while. As I sat and observed my quiet surroundings, I realized that contentment and gratitude was something I had to be purposeful about. Unless I wanted to continue walking around feeling as if I have the weight of the world on my shoulders and constantly worrying about grades and money, I had to surrender. I must refuse to allow the cares of this world to drag me down. 10 years from now, I don’t want to look back and regret my college years.

Casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 [1]

So the next few pictures is about me being grateful. And the next few days will be about me being contented.

me and sarah, my roomie

I’m grateful for my roommate. Before coming to college, I was worried about who my roommate was going to be. I prayed for a good roommate whom I could possibly become good friends with. Sarah was my roommate Freshman Year, and we’re roommates again in Sophomore Year. Sometimes, I think it’s crazy how we’re both so alike yet different at the same time. I am blessed.

me and erina

I’m grateful for Erina, who is not only my little Japanese friend (sorry Erina, I couldn’t help it), but also my best friend. I met her before international orientation even started last year, and we’ve been friends ever seen. She’s the sweetest and kindest person I know, and her passion to tell others about Christ encourages me greatly. I am blessed.

me and leena

I’m grateful for my other close friend, Leena. I’m encouraged by how she keeps me in prayer even when I don’t ask for it, and how she intuitively notices when something is wrong without me saying a word. Her unwavering faith in God always amazes me. I am blessed.

 

Ironically, after I returned to my apartment, I saw a message my uncle posted in our family WhatsApp group. It was a picture with a quote by Max Lucado that was so apt as it echoed what I’m learning now.

When you are in the final days of your life, what will you want? Will you hug that college degree in the walnut frame? Will you ask to be carried to the garage so you can sit in your car? Will you find comfort in rereading your financial statement? Of course not. What will matter then will be people. If relationships will matter most then, shouldn’t they matter most now? — Max Lucado

P.S. In case you’re wondering, yes, I did bump into someone I know on my walk. To my embarrassment, as I was walking back, I saw a familiar figure. I was hoping he wouldn’t recognize me in the dim lighting, but unfortunately for me, he did and waved. Lesson learned – next time I take a late night walk, use sweat pants instead of pajama pants.

[1] English Standard Version

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Posted on October 12, 2014, in Inspirations, Thoughts, and Ramblings, Life of a College Student, Life of an International Student and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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