My fourth summer in Nashville and I’m still not accustomed to it—the fast and furious rain storms that interrupt your day in the rudest way and leave you, just as suddenly as they came, walking along steamy pavement. This girl from the desert of south Texas is still surprised that rain in the summer even happens.
I watched a downpour like this the other day from the safety of my living room. People were on the street one minute and then nowhere to be seen the next. They had wisely run for cover. This particular rain was the vision-impairing kind that wouldn’t allow you to get anywhere fast anyways. A thick sheet of rain.
I haven’t made a major life change in almost five years. My last one was moving to Nashville, where I live now, to work at a book publishing house where I worked until this last Friday. This is the first Monday in 23 years that I have woken up neither an “employee” nor a “student.” It would be fair to say I am looking at a thick sheet of rain. I will probably be looking at it tomorrow too and many days thereafter. This is what it feels like to have an uncertain future. To leave a job you love and people you loved working with to do something you’ve known for a while now that you are supposed to do.
About a year ago after a succession of events I will write about in due time, I knew I was ready to start to pray about a job transition. And a few months ago I knew it was time to start to plan for said transition. And a few weeks ago, it was time to make it. I put in a five weeks notice, and here I sit on my stone on my uncertain path staring at the thick sheet of rain.
This is as descriptive as I can be about my next step at the moment: I’m going to be Doing My Writing Thing. At best, I’ve piddled in writing since I started a full-time job. I’ve freelanced here and there, been on and off this blog, taken a few weekends to work on longer creative pieces that are more fun than they are focused, and it’s time to get real about it.
I’ve never leapt like this before. My life to date has been about sensible choices. College, graduate school, career. I have felt safe in these decisions and yes they were challenging and scary when they started, but nothing has been quite so unclear as this next step. Never has my future looked so blurry. I can do nothing to get it into focus, squint as I may.
Sometimes several stones ahead of us on the path are illuminated. It’s so nice when that happens, isn’t it? When you kinda know what’s coming next, and the education and career track you are on are clear. Then there are those times when it seems only the stone you stand on and maybe one or two ahead of you are lit. Everything else? Dark.
We can’t know what’s next, and that’s difficult for we humans still not convinced of our mortality. But we can trust what’s next.
As I stand on my one illuminated stone, I don’t know what else to do except cling to this: “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Prov. 3:6). And he will make your paths straight. Not clear. Straight. We aren’t promised that we will know what’s next, we are promised something better: that what’s next will be in the right direction. It will be straight ahead because he will make it so.