I abandoned several months of low carb living Monday for something
in a brightly colored plastic sleeve.
Small discs of peanut butter and chocolate heaven melted
in my mouth as I chose sugar to be my soother.
But that was the other day, let me backtrack a few weeks.
I decided to take a risk.
I applied for something in the arena of writing knowing
the odds were numerically stacked against me.
I decided to consider it an exercise without
expectations pinned on the outcome.
I pushed click and a fragment of myself flew off into cyberspace.
I uttered this to no one except a few lines in an email to a friend
and in private chats with God.
Then I waited.
The way you wait for the thick envelope to land in your mailbox with
a thud during college application season.
Everyone knows thin does not mean you are in.
(Which is not always the case, but let’s go with it for
the purposes of this post.)
One morning, I glanced over my inbox and there it was.
It was a lovely and kind email even though it felt like a thank you
wrapped in tissue paper tattooed with the word no.
During the waiting period, I had made positive self-talk my ritual.
I prepared myself and would not allow any hopes to escape into the
Yet a few wafted through a small keyhole in my heart.
I moved on because life does carry on with or without my permission.
I thought the disappointment had been absorbed until a week later,
I innocently visited a website revealing
the ones who had been chosen.
Somehow now it made a difference, it felt different seeing faces.
Even when I allowed my calculator
(yes, I am crazy like this)
to do the math telling
me that a mere .0189473684% of the pool of applicants were selected,
it didn’t seem to matter.
It ruined my day.
Or should I say, I allowed it to ruin my day.
I hoped consuming the contents of a wrapper would
fill the lack I felt in my heart.
The peanut butter cup was my gateway drug for
the rest of the day.
Carl didn’t even say a word (bless him!) when he saw
me eating a brownie or two during the NCAA
basketball championship game.
I wish I could blame my binge on
my march madness bracket debacle,
but I can’t.
Empty wrappers, sacks, boxes or whatever
container are not a recipe for contentment.
In the moment, a perfect and harmless antidote but
in the aftermath, the cause for the consumption
sits smugly watching you take out the trash.
Tuesday was another day.
The rhythm of the morning was a fresh gift of mercy.
Later, I returned from a walk and while showering it occurred
to me that I had prayed for God’s will regarding this opportunity.
I had prayed the right people would be selected.
Isn’t that what happened?
Isn’t that answered prayer?
Is it still answered prayer when I am not fond of the outcome?
What does it mean when the right person doesn’t mean me?
In that moment as water crashed upon my head,
I felt drowned in the reality that perhaps my
praying is much more like prodding.
If I am honest, this awareness hurt more than
not being chosen.
Every solitary day God chooses chocolate stained me.
I commence a pity party whenever my will is overridden.
It’s me who needs to be prodded back into alignment.
It may seem inconceivable and sound insincere based on the
above lament, but when I received my rejection email,
I prayed for those selected.
I prayed for how God was planning to use them to minister to others.
I said a carbon copy prayer for myself.
On Tuesday I prayed again.
I prayed the same prayer.
A prayer for the selected.
A prayer for me who has been eternally chosen
by the heart and will of the Father.
No prodding needed.