Every so often in my life, I have moments of doubt and second-guessing. Who doesn't? I'll be at the grocery store, for instance, with a Jones soda in my cart, when I'll catch myself wondering about the correctness of my intended purchase. (Note: This is especially true when it's something I haven't tried before. For the sake of this discussion, let's assume that I've never had a Jones soda before.) Will I like this soda? Wouldn't I be better off with something else - something safe?
Sometimes I buy the soda, and sometimes I don't. Sometimes I end up liking the soda, and sometimes I don't, and if I don't always like the soda, you can imagine why there's more than a small amount of hesitancy when I make larger, more life-altering decisions.
Some of those recent decisions follow, in ascending order of life-altering potential.
I tend to stock my iPod with music that I know and am familiar with - the old standbys, like Radiohead, the Decemberists, Joanna Newsom, the Arcade Fire, and so on. Recently, I decided to empty my iPod completely and fill it with artists whose music I'd never heard before (2G of it!) just before an eight-hour workday. While walking toward work, I began to have second thoughts. What if I didn't like Built to Spill? What if A. C. Newman wasn't who I wanted to hear? What if it turned out that the Flaming Lips were a sound I wouldn't agree with? Wouldn't I have been safer with Radiohead?
Of course it turned out for the best. I can imagine more than one of you out there screaming at your monitor, "Built to Spill? The Flaming Lips?! How could you not like those bands?" Yes, in retrospect, of course it was a good idea. That didn't stop me from worrying about it beforehand, though.
I was scheduled to start my student teaching experience in January of this year. The last three and a half years of my undergraduate education had been building up to this point, and I was pretty excited about it. However, as the date drew nearer, I began to worry. What if this wasn't what I wanted to do after all? What if those last three and a half years had been a waste? What was I going to do with my life after that? Maybe it wasn't too late to back out and do something safe - something where I'd never have to deal with people. Something where I could just read books all day.
Of course, it turned out that I loved the experience. It was insanely difficult and demanding, but it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. It's definitely what I want to do with my career. It's scary, and it's going to involve me putting myself out on the line sometimes, but it's what I want to do.
About a month ago, I managed to convince Genuine Draft that she wanted to marry me. At the time, it not only seemed like a good idea, but a perfectly rational one - one that felt inevitable. I came back home feeling as though nothing out of the ordinary had happened. When I woke up the next morning, though, the full impact of what I had just done hit me. What on earth had I done? Supposing I made the wrong decision. Had I just tied my fate to someone who was going to bring me down in life? What if I ended up miserable? And was I anywhere close to ready to start a grown-up and responsible life?
Between that moment and now, I've had about a thousand little moments where I realize that yes, I made the right decision. (We made the right decision, Genuine.) Really, I've had those little moments that come after I make big decisions nearly every time. I'm a worrier, by nature (and I know that I'm not the only one), so it's nice to have little things like this to reinforce my resolve every so often. It's nice to know that every once in a while, I make the right decision.
More than ever, I'm realizing that God is in the details.