I wrote a comment elsewhere today about how God will turn the bad things in our lives into good, and about how I believe in keeping faith in this. As I wrote that I knew very well that I may be forced in a matter of hours to practice what I preach, and so I am.
In the strictest sense, this is not wedding-related. But in that it affects my life it is, our life, and ten million little details, it is. Today I found out that my application for doctoral studies had been rejected, or in more positive terms, "not accepted".
I am torn between both an emotional meltdown and a calm peace. I change between one or the other. Worse things than this have happened to me and I have survived. And between my doubts throughout the years that this was the path I should pursue, and the sense of peace I have under it all, I cannot help but believe it will be for the best.
I don't expect the next few months will be easy, although I am trying to stay positive. It is hard, even in my relative relief that I don't have to feel obligated to undertake a PhD, not to feel sad about it when friends and rivals of mine have already been accepted. Just as it is hard to put in long hours finishing this degree when I know that although "MA" may signify as useful in my future career, my knowledge of medieval monasticism, pilgrimage, and textual editing probably will not. I don't believe in burning my bridges, nor do I believe in giving up, but I don't pretend it's going to be easy to push myself for these last six weeks.
I don't know what my future will hold. I think that being outside of academia plays better with my hopes of a largeish family and domestic goddess skills. I may very well go back to school in a few years, but I don't think it will be for an academic course. I am thinking about counseling or social work, but realize that much of this may be that 1) I enjoy helping/teaching people and 2) when one doesn't know what to do with one's life it is typical to first revert to the careers of one's parents.
As for the wedding...
If I can get a good job off the start, it may allow us to get married sooner or more expensively. Or it may push the date until I can get enough vacation time or leave to go get married. We'll see. I'm not really sure what I'm going to do. My immediate plan is to take the first two weeks of May off and go home. Mum & I are going to go wedding dress shopping, and throw a party for my dad's birthday, and I will hopefully have time to relax.
The idea of getting married is easier right now. I was anxious about having children while in a doctoral program, as it is not like one gets mat. leave for that. I am happy that I probably won't have to put off having children until I'm close to thirty. I've been teasing David for a few weeks already about how we'll probably have a baby in a couple of years, and now I think that may be more than just a cautionary jest.
I've been encouraged by many people--family, friends, professors--for many years to pursue an academic career. And in the face of my ideas of staying home and raising a family I have been told that it is not something I would be satisfied with. I won't know if those people are wrong or not until I try it. I don't even know if I'll have the chance to try it--it may not be financially in our cards. Only time will tell. But I do know that I take pleasure in my little home, in my cooking and occasional bouts of cleaning (which are usually far too few but at least very thorough when they happen), in creating an atmosphere of peace and safety for those whom I love. And I do know that I had feared for awhile that a life spent climbing the ivory tower would be at odds with this--it demands an amount of focus that conflicts with these smaller but (in my opinion) much more eternal tasks.
So, it is not easy but all is not lost. I feel that I can still hold my head up and go on--albeit with an icy disdain and hardened heart at times. Most of all, I am so thankful that we got engaged BEFORE this, so that I have this engagement, marriage, and future to focus on as an actual reality instead of a dream. I am not left with nothing.
God or one of his angels gave David a verse for me this evening:
"You shall have a song as in the night when a holy festival is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one sets out to the sound of the flute to go to the mountain of the Lord, to the Rock of Israel" (Is. 30:29).
Preceding it, "Thereofre the Lord waits to be gracious to you: therefore he will rise up to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice: blessed are all those who wait for him. Truly, O people in Zioin, inhabitants of Jersalem, you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry: when he hears it, he will answer you. Though the Lord may give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself any more but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And when you turn to the right or to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it." (Is. 30:18-21)