I’ve oddly been having a ton of God moments recently: from a St. Patrick’s Day in the middle of a crowded basement bar after dancing for a ton of people I did not know, little chats over text message with close friends of mine, and of course my most recent decision to decline my offer to graduate school.
To remain unbiased, the university and its programs will be unnamed throughout the course of this story. Since early November, I have thought of nothing else but a future in graduate school. In addition to that, I have hoped and envisioned myself receiving that degree alongside a professional assistantship in Campus Ministry. Throughout the course of this year at JSC, I have had easy access to this school. So, durring the application process, I visited campus once allowing me to meet with my potential employer before any of the other prospective graduate assistants, had a phone interview which led to me being asked to come to campus for a full day of interviews with students and staff members. Needless to say, by the end of the on-campus interview day, I thought the position was mine. I thought after the relationships I had formed both over the phone, through email, and in person that I had done all I needed to impress the people making the final decision.
There was no doubt in my mind that I would be given one of the four open positions.
All this being said, one can imagine my reaction when in the middle of a retreat for St. Charles in Columbus, I opened an email that, in all of its professionalism, said thank you, but no thank you. I didn’t say a word to anyone; the rest of the retreat I found myself silent and that silence continued into the ride back to our Airbnb. I was shocked, completely destroyed, and absolutely embarrassed for what I knew had to come next. I needed to start telling the people closest to me of this news. All I could muster were a few text messages. Phone calls would have to wait because I quite literally could not even speak. I was so angry—with myself and with God. I thought this was my dream, it was all I had been working towards since my early years as an undergraduate student at John Carroll. “This was supposed to have worked out, right God? What did I do wrong?”
I then let a week go by, having conversations with family and close friends, still drowning in my awful thoughts and lies. After a week, I mustered up every ounce of bravery I had to send a follow up email expressing my disappointment and asking several questions relating to professional feedback. I received a response almost instantly explaining that this woman wanted to speak to me personally over the phone and when was the soonest I could do so? I set up a phone call with a woman I barely knew that has vastly changed my entire outlook on life. Her feedback was this: I was an exceptional young woman and they had tried to place me in a different position in a completely different department before letting me know of their final decision (which is why it took them so long to get back to me), but every assistantship position on campus had already been filled. She also expressed that perhaps Campus Ministry might not be for me and had I ever thought of…
I don’t wish to share the specific field at this time, but I do wish to share how it made me feel. As she spoke these words, my entire body began to feel lighter, my heart less anxious and the thought of such a future brought the biggest smile to my face. It was one of those moments where you stop and say, “Thanks God, I know that was you.”
God has astounded me this year, in more ways than one. I have learned so much about myself and my own potential. I learned that I have been chasing a future that somewhere deep down always felt wrong, but it was easier to continue to chase it than to let go of it and start over. I realized that human beings can cause tremendous pain and destruction, but that they can also cause more beauty than we thought possible; even from people who do not know us that well. I also learned that every moment of our lives is interconnected to the greater story of our existence as individuals. Without X, we would never have or know Y. I can see a straight path now that used to be a tangled web of information that I could not comprehend as being connected. But now, every moment and every professional opportunity I have had makes sense.
Everything under the sun has a purpose, but if we are not willing to have or notice our God moments, we may just miss that purpose. We may keep striving towards something that is not meant to be, because it is easier that way. But here is a question I dare ask: when in the world did God ever make anything easy for anyone? We are not created to do it the easy way! I have no idea what comes next, but I do know that it will difficult. Question marks lie in front of me, and honestly, that should scare me. But it does not. It excites me. It excites me because this is my invitation to be as brave, bold and as unapologetically Klaire as God created me to be! God gives each and every one of us that same invitation in multiple forms, and we often miss it. This time, I heard it loud and clear, and eventually you will too if you have not already.