In the past month or so, it’s pretty amazing to realize how little time I spend pondering my time here.  I have barely studied all these lovely little stretch marks I’ve been given as I’ve grown, which (in addition to the “Twitter” explanation in my last post) is probably a large reason of why writing a blog has seemed so exhausting, or out of reach.  Honestly, much of my free time is spent thinking about my work placement, or thinking about the guys and our newest Aussie volunteer, Caitlin, or wondering who’s going to be preparing the next meal, or occasionally I’ll look outside with the snow piled two feet high and worry about the people in town without good shelter, or any shelter.  But I don’t worry as much about these poor as I should, like I worry about planning the rest of my life past this volunteer program.  Everyone (and their moms – literally) has been asking me about the latter for a while now, and all the hype has got me nervous.  Many are waiting and watching, probably less than I think, but it’s all got me looking for nothing short of extraordinary.  How else do you respond to all that lofty expectation?  What’s a volunteer to do?

I feel like a slave to my future.  Apart from it being incredibly annoying or frightening, it also prompts happiness, giddiness or blithe uncertainty (not the gracious kind, either).  It controls all of these emotions and more, most of the time.  Although I may get excited thinking about it, dwelling on my future is never freeing.  I am reading this passage in Romans, where Paul writes that those of us considered sons and daughters of God did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear.  Pretty powerful words when I read them, and I started to wonder what things in my life I am in bondage to.  My future came up immediately.  Ouch! It helps to be affirmed that being in God’s family means that I am free from bondage to my future, but to act on that is a totally different measure.  How do I stop myself from worrying??

That said, in lieu of all the pressure from my friends and family, I’ve considered some pretty big things, like graduate school for teaching or peace and social justice.  I’ve also considered just volunteering for another year, because when will I be able to do this again?  I can only defer my loans for so long, so it’s now or never.  I’ve considered reapplying with the Lutheran Volunteer Corps, somewhere on the east coast, like D.C.   I spent my New Year’s Eve with a group of LVCers over there and genuinely cherished them.  It was a sweet time and I got to learn about their own work placements and how they’re also living in solidarity with the poor.  There are some good things on my plate right now.  Decisions, annoying decisions.

As I write I’m reminded of Shane Claiborne’s sentiment that our vocation as Christians, in relationship with God, should always (and can) simply be an outpouring of His love back unto Himself and others.  Simple and beautiful.  Really, how extravagant does my next step need to be as long as I am fulfilling that purest purpose God has for me, to love Him and others?  If I begin to kirk out again about my future plans, remind me of Whom I should really be living for!