Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Running on Empty

The past week and month an incredibly empty feeling has overcome me. Such was the case when I packed, cleaned, and finished up work for the semester within the 24 hours preceding my College Station departure on Thursday of last week. Then came a weekend of sheer nothingness, of freedom, and of peace and quiet on a hilltop. Yes, there were distractions. Yes, there were setbacks and misgivings. But looking back at what I had accomplished for the school year and what was to come for the summer, I felt satisfied and pleased.

Things do work out. There isn't a doubt about that. I've seen my earlier years open up to a blossom that brought me to A&M...now I look onward to where this next six-year blossom will take me. I remember my first trip to A&M distinctly. So much do I cherish; so much am I thankful for. Yet, during it all, I long for more. I don't know if it is selfish of me, but I do try to temper my desires. Egos have a tendency to inflate themselves on their own without much prodding by ourselves, but at the same time perceived injuries take so long to heal on their own.

My heart travels back across this semester and what I have been graced to experience: those people I have been graced to meet and have blossoming friendships with. My heart is full of joy for these things. So too does it swell when thinking on the progress made to the ends I have searched for during my years at A&M. The end is near, but at times I find myself telling myself things have gone by too quickly.

It is a contradiction, where we often find the greatest joys when we are in the twilight of stages in life. Only when we reach the end do we see the joy that took so long to uncover, much like the sculptor who finally whittles away the last bit of wood or stone to reach the masterpiece sculpture beneath.

The worries of the future ahead are of little concern to me right now. For the time being it is the joys of the present that I must tend to before creating new ones elsewhere. These are the things concerning me right now.

Here is what I ask you to do, my dear reader, in the coming days as an experiment. With each person you meet—on the street, in the supermarket, in the bank, eating out somewhere, at work, in your place of worship—greet them with a smile, consciously treat them with respect, and thank God for their presence in making your day just the least bit better. And if they aren't helping your day and instead ruining it, then ask God for patience to deal with them and pray for their inability to see or accept their bitterness. Then once your day is done, count the good things of the day. No matter your troubles, when seeing the good for what it truly is then the bad is nothing more than a passing headache...even if you're temporarily running on empty.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

10 Do's (and Don'ts) of Being a Freshman at A&M

This is mostly for my two incoming freshmen cousins that are coming in as Class of 2011! Yes, I know...two in one year! Amazing, isn't it? Anyhow, I think it's good advice after being around the block for four years(!) and as I prepare for the final victory lap.

10 Do's (and Don'ts) of Being a Freshman at A&M

10. Do take advantage of any SI, review, or office hours offered.
9. Do read sections and print out notes (if applicable) before class.
8. Do not overload your schedule with too many hours (absolutely no more than 15 hours) or too many extraciricular activity organizations (two or three, with an emphasis on one).
7. Do keep a calendar of all events/appointments/deadlines for each semester.
6. Do avoid specific classes until you get accustom to college life, while do take a balanced load of reading (book/survey courses) and technical courses but err on the side of safety (with a more-reading-than-technical ratio).
5. Do expect and plan for things to fail or take longer than you plan. Budget accordingly.
4. Do live on campus but plan and budget wisely. Get smaller meal plans than you think you need. ALWAYS.
3. Do get involved with events and/or organizations related to your major and your classes.
2. Be Faith-oriented. Do not allow your spiritual life to falter.
1. Do listen to yourself when going about your first year, but always be open to new ideas and new approaches to learning even "old" topics.

Friday, May 04, 2007

“Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled"

Today's Gospel reading is fitting as a closure to the semester and even more fitting as I look onward to the hopes and dreams that this summer, with the blessings of the internship I am about to embark on, that bode so well for me in the future.
Jesus said to his disciples:
"Do not let your hearts be troubled.
You have faith in God; have faith also in me.
In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.
If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going you know the way."
Thomas said to him, "Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?"
Jesus said to him, "I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me."
-- John 14:1-6
This passage speaks so loudly on the call to one's vocation. What are we called to? As Jesus said: "In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?" In the Father's plans there are many places we are to go, but only one final dwelling place that the Lord has prepared.

As I look back on the month that was with all the trouble (personal, within our house, and in Blacksburg) that has led me to this day, I look forward so to the days ahead and the year to come from this day forward. The Lord has indeed has prepared us a place...and in time we shall all find that glory. Glory to Him.