Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Beautiful Ambiguity

I don't really think ambiguity is beautiful. But I'm trying really hard. After much soul searching, I realized that most of the anxiety and nervousness I feel when faced with new situations or challenges has at the root a fear of uncertainty. I want assurance that everything will work out fine. When I do not have that assurance, I feel threatened by the possibility of loss or difficulty or suffering. A sense of anxiety follows. Maybe this seems really obvious and you're thinking to yourselves, Oh, Hillary. Obviously! But this was actually a revelation for me. I realized that when I choose to embrace uncertainty, then I'm not as anxious. It's like really cheap, really simple therapy. Mark and I have a lot of ambiguity and uncertainty right now, so I have lots of opportunity to practice embracing instead of resisting.

I had an interview at a school yesterday. Because I'm applying and interviewing for teaching jobs through Teach For America, I'm almost guaranteed a teaching position this fall. But not quite. I still have to interview and interview well. The school still needs to like me and want me. TFA can't force me on them. Unfortunately, I never feel like I interview well. I liked this school a lot. I could see myself teaching there. But I didn't leave the interview with a sense that my interviewers really wanted me teaching there.

During interviews, I always get this feeling that I should have taken speech in high school or forced myself to do something that required public speaking when I was in college. I just don't feel like I express my passion and excitement well. My nervousness makes me quieter and more reserved. I just want to stop partway through the interview and say, Can I be perfectly honest? I'm not expressing myself well. But I would be a really good teacher. I promise. Just hire me and you'll see! But interviews just don't work that way. So now I'm waiting (not very hopefully) to hear back from this school and waiting for more interview opportunities. I think I better force someone who loves me to ask me a bunch of interview questions before the next interview so I can practice conveying what I mean to convey.

Mark is also waiting. He's waiting to hear back on a job he's interviewed twice for already. We're hoping he makes to to the next round of interviews. He's continuing to search for other jobs to apply for, but this one looked good. (Yay! More opportunity for me to practice embracing uncertainty!)

When we arrived in the Twin Cities almost a month ago, I had hoped that before I started training with TFA on June 1 Mark would have a job and we would have begun to look at apartments. At this point, that doesn't seem likely. God is asking us to wait more and trust more. I'm practicing embracing this period of uncertainty.

I'm excited to start training for TFA. I know I'm going to learn a lot and be pushed hard. I'm excited to be in a classroom this summer and learning right alongside other new teachers. I don't mind that I have to spend five weeks in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for that training. What I do mind, what I am nervous about, is leaving Mark for that period of time. I haven't been away from Mark for more than three nights, I think, since we got married four years ago. Six weeks apart is going to feel like an eternity. Plus, Mark is used to my habits - embarrassing, irritating, and otherwise - and I'm just not excited about suddenly gifting those co-habitation habits to a stranger.

But in all of this, I'm trying really really hard to enjoy the moment. I'm enjoying holding and petting and feeding treats to my parents' cat. (I love cats. I really love cats. Mark really doesn't. But that's a post for another time.) And I'm enjoying sitting at the table by the sliding glass doors and listening to birds in the trees in the back yard. I'm enjoying spending time with my parents and siblings and family-in-law and niece and nephews. I have lots to enjoy now.

So, I'm trying to embrace this beautiful ambiguity. We don't know where we'll be living in two months. We don't know what our bank account will look like in two months. We don't know where either of us will be working, or whether we'll be able to get a dog. We don't really know anything. But we know that God is good. I know I can trust Him. I know He is leading us step by faltering step. God has arranged for us, right now, this beautiful ambiguity.

The Lord is faithful to all his promises
and loving toward all he has made.
The Lord upholds all those who fall
and lifts up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food at the proper time.
You open your had
and satisfy the desires of every living thing.
            -Psalm 145:13b-16

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