Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Change and a Sacrifice

Times have certainly been tough lately. The price of college is going up, the amount of money in my bank account is going way down, and on top of it all, my financial aid package dropped $10,000 this year.
Shocking, right? I didn't see this coming at all. What was dropped? The government grants. So much for the stimulus package, eh? Also I lost my academic competitiveness grant, because my GPA went down from a 3.7 to a 3.4 (my cumulative is still a 3.5). I thought my grades were pretty good considering that throughout the course of spring semester I was in the hospital twice and had to deal with the death of my 19-year-old cousin. But the numbers don't tell you that.
So, what to do now? Well, for a while I didn't even think I would be able to stay in college. There's just no source of income that could cover that extra fee. My parents and I looked over the possibilities. Take a year to work? Work every night and weekend? Find a massive scholarship in the next couple months? What it finally came down to was this: I am moving home to become a commuter student.
Yes, it sucks. Of course I don't want to give up my independence, my freedom and my space to move back in with my parents. But I'm saving about $8000. So that's the way it's gotta be. I don't really have much of a choice.

The thing is, I can see the good in this, too. During my time with the nuns, the superior and I talked a lot about the time between now and when my vocation (whatever it may be) is realized. The truth of the matter is that college life is not really a good formation period for either vocation. Four years of doing what you want to do when you want to do it does not teach you anything about responsibility, humility, or sacrifice, all things that are absolutely essential to married and religious life. These next few years, though they will inevitably be difficult, will also be a period of great growth for me if I allow them to be. I can learn many virtues by living at home, patience, humility, and docility being at the top of the list! I cringe as I look at those words written out. How uncomfortable they seem to me now! Yet the Lord has said that the virtue that comforts Him most, when it seems that our hearts are full of sin, is humility. Though our sins beat him mercilessly when He enters our hearts through the Eucharist, He is able to recline on our virtues to rest, and He loves humility most of all. Perhaps by the time I graduate or move out again, I will have learned to love this virtue as He does.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Little Bird, Journals, Milestones

It was such a short while ago that I wrote about my little bird, Elliot, and what a ray of sunshine she was to the family and to Jack. Unfortunately, little Elli had a fatal encounter with a ceiling fan a few days ago. She went into shock, then she fell asleep and didn't wake up. We are burying her today.
I am surprisingly heartbroken over this. I am more upset that I was over any other pet death. Ever. I suppose it's because I took such care with her training and because she was so lovable. What hurts the most is how short the time was between her taming and her death. The lifespan of a parakeet, if all goes well (i.e. no sicknesses or accidents), is 12 - 16 years! I was so looking forward to that time with her.
I talked to my spiritual director about it yesterday: do pets go to heaven? On one hand, they don't have souls, or at least, proper souls like humans do, so they don't really fit into the beatific vision of heaven. Yet there will be no pain of loss or separation in heaven, and animals were placed on earth for the enjoyment and use of humans, so maybe they will be there to please us further once we cross over. Our final decision: we don't know! It helped just to talk it out, though.

Yesterday also marked the beginning of shopping-for-school-supplies season, as Mom took a few of us to Office Depot to pick out our planners. I got another huge calender. They really are the best for organizing. But more excitingly, there was a cart full of clearance stuff by the door (everything inside $1!!) and what should be lying in the cart but stacks and stacks of beautiful leather and suede journals!!!!! I almost passed out, I was so happy. I have a rather severe journal fetish. I bought 5 of them for $5.35. You just can't beat that. Plus, now I am good to go for at least 2 years, probably more.

Also of note is that this post is #60 for me! Hooray! Also, August 23 is "Thoughts Along the Way"'s 1 year anniversary! I can't believe it! It seems only weeks ago that I was posting about my epic encounter with veggie hummus. Sigh.