The gravel poked under my bare feet as I sprinted toward the mailbox at the end of our curved driveway. Reaching it, I opened the creaky brown metal lid as my eyes instantly grasped what I hoped to find: an envelope from the University of Arkansas’s music department. I had already been accepted to the university, but this letter would tell me if I won the scholarship I needed to be able to attend there.
Grabbing the cream-colored envelope, I pulled it out of the mailbox and tore it open. Holding my breath, I unfolded the crisp letter with shaky hands and quickly scanned its contents. I exhaled, its refreshing good news washing over me: I had won the scholarship.
I also received favorable mail from Oklahoma State University, the college so ingrained in my soul I practically bled its school color of orange. But attending the University of Arkansas would not only be an opportunity to study at a music school with a stellar reputation, it would also be an opportunity to gently spread my wings a little farther, beyond my home state of Oklahoma. So I told myself that if I received the University of Arkansas scholarship, I would go.
But when I held the ticket to the school in my hands, I wasn’t so sure. As time pressed forward,
the Oklahoma State option tugged wearily on my sleeve, insisting I pay attention to all the fine things it offered too:
A good music school.
A family legacy of graduates.
And, given its close proximity to my hometown, many built-in friends.
In the end, Oklahoma State won. Saying yes to OSU felt as comfortable and natural as the school’s black-and-orange sweatshirt, so I told people I chose OSU because it just felt right. Privately, however, I knew I chose OSU not because going anywhere else felt wrong but because going anywhere else felt new and scary.
And given a choice, this girl didn’t do new and scary.
For as long as I can remember, embracing any kind of change that wasn’t my own idea came about as naturally as chewing off my own arm. If you could peek through the curtains of my young adulthood, you’d see me wearing a selfish aversion to change like an invisibility cloak. But change is an unavoidable part of life, and handling it is a skill necessary to our well-being. Life and anything that represents life involves movement, and standing rigid against it will only break us. So being the loving parent he is, God gently but firmly urges us toward the uncomfortable places change brings.
It’s a lesson I’m learning imperfectly but learning nonetheless.
With a couple decades from that Summer of Indecision in my rearview mirror, I laugh remembering how my “safe” college choice transformed into the open door where predictability and safe choices faded into oblivion. For during my freshman year at Oklahoma State, I fell in love. And not just with any fellow, but with a fellow in the United States Air Force. So with the date of my twenty-first birthday still ink wet on the calendar, I married my good man and in marriage alone received a crash course in flexibility, humility, and accepting a shared supportive role rather than the sole lead role in the story of my life. Throw in the head-spinning realities of the military lifestyle, and rest assured, I learned to adapt to change in a hundred baptism-by-fire kinds of ways.
Kristen Strong, [Girl Meets Change]. Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, © 2015. Used by permission.
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