God and Midterms

“Okay, God, here’s the deal. I know we were going to talk last night, but I got tied up with … Continued

“Okay, God, here’s the deal. I know we were going to talk last night, but I got tied up with some homework and then some friends invited me over to watch ‘Planet Earth’—which is really just a celebration of your creation, right? Sort of like praying? And I was really tired when I got back to the dorms…

“And I know I missed church on Sunday too, and I had every intention of going to the night service, but I mean if someone’s just going to offer me basketball tickets, who am I to turn them down? So anyway, I know I’ve been slacking lately, but I promise I’ll get better… and by the way, could you help me on my midterms next week? And I’d really like to shake this cold. Thanks. Amen.”

Weeks around the middle of the semester, or the end of the semester, or important athletic events, or weeks where I travel, or even weeks that are just plain too normal to necessitate any sort of prayer—these are the weeks where I tend to relegate God to the back of my mind. It’s excellent that He’s up there hanging out in some higher eternally divine realm, but right now I’m down here, and I have a paper to write and a sonnet cycle to analyze and could He just wait until a dead week and then I’ll catch up on all that prayer? One could call Judgment Day the ultimate deadline. Right now “Essay Due March 3rd” seems more pressing. The Episcopalian in me just can’t get its mind around eschatology, but the perfectionist in me feels like midterms might be the end times.

I’m not convinced God is perturbed by my busier days when I fall asleep without praying or forget to thank Him at meals. I am convinced, however, that when I rush through life with God on the back burner I lose my own sense of grounding and inner peace. It doesn’t have to be long and it doesn’t have to be complicated. Simply thinking about God or thanking Him for anything at all shifts my world. Those midterms are still scary, but they are also in perspective when I remember to pray. When I go to God hastily, though—“Hey, I know we haven’t talked lately, but can you do me a favor, this runny nose is going to kill my weekend”—it doesn’t do much for laying a spiritual framework, and probably won’t heal that cold.

To paraphrase the parable, it’s hard for a rich man to get into heaven, but it’s also hard for a busy college student to feel heaven. I’m still working on sensing that relationship between what’s going on “up there” and what’s going on “down here.” Remembering God in all the confusion would be a good start and never fails to bring clarity. Something tells me He’s not falling for my excuses anyway.

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  • Mike Beidler

    Erin,You wrote: “The Episcopalian in me just can’t get its mind around eschatology …”Then I’ve got the perfect books for you! If you want to purchase an outstanding volume on just eschatology, be sure to visit http://www.behindtheveilofmoses.com. If you really want to be challenged with both eschatology and the young-earth/old-earth debate, be sure to visit http://www.beyondcreationscience.com.Then, once the end times — er, midterms — are over, be sure to swing by my own blog to discuss the creation-evolution question. Remember … question Him with all your mind.Oh, yeah … I’m praying for you during your midterms! ;-)God bless

  • John Percer

    Why does God have to be “up there”? On Pentecost the Holy Spirit came down from heaven. Do you think it left? You have the chance to interact with God beyond praying or attending Church services, although these do a good job of centering your thoughts. Don’t be too hard on yourself, God is always ready to take us back. As far as the end times go, did not Jesus say that only God knows the time and date? Live your life everyday as a good Christian and let God deal with that over which you have no control. Good Luck on mid-terms, i remember them not so fondly.

  • Slappey

    E: More advice from others who tell you what to read… Charles says “The Beginning and the End” by Nicolas Berdyaev is worth a look. Berdyaev was s a Russian philosopher who was kicked out of Russia by Lenin. Good prep for your summer travels, right? xoxox, L

  • Mary Anne

    Wonderful insight. Thanks for sharing yourself.

  • Linda Antisavage

    Erin,