“In God’s time, when He gives you a dream, you better believe that it will come to pass.” – Pastor Charles Olmeda. [English translation]
Happy New Year! ~ Happy 2018. This is a time of new beginnings, or “una temporada de nuevos comienzos.” The things we left behind in 2017 remain in 2017 – or we can choose to carry them with us into the new year. Is it worth the trip through time? Does it bring value to our lives, or is it something that we could and should leave behind? I find the end of a thing to be a good time to reflect on it, so I reflected during the last few weeks leading up to January 1, 2018. I don’t keep many resolutions, though I do embrace my visions, work towards goals, and always desire to remain GRATEFUL. If I forget my visions I could lose sight of where I am going and where I’ve already been. With His Grace, I made it through all that I experienced in 2017, and the years before that. No matter the obstacle or pain, I was fortunate and blessed to see the other side of each journey.
Some of our most painful moments are also our times to grow, to change, stretch, adapt, see more clearly, experience another’s struggle, help someone else, and strengthen the places where we were once weak. I try to remember this when I’m experiencing moments in life that feel painful or inconvenient – changes in a job situation, the end of a relationship, balancing study with work sometimes at the expense of personal life/health…Painful, inconvenient -> UNCOMFORTABLE. Just make it all go away. Or time transport me a few weeks or months beyond those times so I can blink and never have to experience them. Is it better to just turn the page, finish the chapter, start a new book – maybe even toss the old one – without having to write in the vivid details of what I’m enduring each month? Does choosing to forget erase the meaning of it all?
Uncomfortable. Out of the many thoughts and memories etched into my mind from law school, I will probably never forget my criminal law professor from 1L year telling me that the law is not meant to be comfortable. He explained this concept as if it were a revelation; that lawyers grapple with extremely difficult and uncertain situations, and that the practice of law and the study of law would often involve deep and even uncomfortable work.
For me, it was a revelation. How could I not understand that before? Why did I expect that hours of studying or speaking with experts in the field would suddenly result in the law becoming graspable; less murky, less thorny, and even comfortable. In my third year I began to – again reflecting on the culmination of a thing – feel just a bit more comfortable with being uncomfortable. After working as a law clerk during my 2L summer with some of the best government attorneys in environmental and administrative law, I knew that the breadth of government work fascinated me and I hoped it to be in my future. In my last semester, researching a very new intersection between environmental and international criminal law, I started to realize that the most complex questions are being asked every day, and the solutions to them are changing almost just as frequently.
So in 2018 I would like to be more free; to stretch my wings some and continue to get comfortable with the uncomfortable. I’m still taking time off since graduation last spring, and that in itself has been a lesson in being comfortable. I had a specific idea of what I would be doing after graduation – what field of law to pursue – and when I would be starting my career. I needed to become flexible with changing my career plans and taking time off. The break has been restorative and I am thankfully more open minded about where I should take my career this year. I am more open to the changes that I experienced since graduating and less resistant to the detours that inevitably come up in life.
Detours are uncomfortable. No matter how many I experience and no matter how many I trudge through – sometimes blindly – they will probably still be comfortable. Even if I anticipate them, and prepare – they tend to throw me off a bit. It is only when I settle in and take a breath, remind myself of the blessings and beauties of uncertainty, that I am able to grow confident. God is always with me, and He knows and designs everything now and eternally. So honestly refreshing! An undeniable, eternal assurance. I thank God. Being comfortable with the uncomfortable. That’s where I want to be.