28. The Bend in the Road

I really like Anne of Green Gables. Although I don’t usually enjoy sentimental stories about little girls growing up, there’s something about the book that strikes a chord with me. It could be that Anne Shirley (whose first name must never be spelled without the e) and her friend Matthew Cuthbert are delightful characters. It could be that Anne of Green Gables paints a beautiful picture of a simpler time, a time without Facebook or cell phones, when people took time to talk to each other and read books for the fun of it.

Whatever the reason, Anne of Green Gables is a favorite of mine.

One of my favorite moments in the book comes in one of the final chapters. Anne’s future plans, which had seemed so certain, are suddenly thrown into serious question. Rather than give up in despair, Anne decides to regard her misfortune as an adventure: “My future seemed to stretch out before me like a straight road. I thought I could see along it for many a milestone. Now there is a bend in it. I don’t know what lies around the bend, but I’m going to believe that the best does.”

My own plans for Life After College were pretty straightforward until a few months ago. I was going to apply for a job at my old high school in Ecuador, teach English and write novels until retiring and settling in California or Florida. Everything was neatly planned, and I didn’t doubt for a moment that things would work out precisely as I wanted them to.

Then my application to the high school was turned down. My future plans were no longer crystal clear, unless that crystal happened to be an especially foggy variety of quartz. I was discouraged for a little while, but it finally occurred to me that not knowing exactly what the future holds is kind of exciting. Terrifying, yes, but also kind of exciting.

I’ve been student teaching for the last eleven weeks, struggling to survive grading, lesson planning, sleep deprivation, faculty meetings, miscellaneous paperwork and the actual business of standing in front of students and teaching them things. It was like walking through thick fog: it was hard to see far behind or ahead, to think about the past or speculate about the future. Day by day all I could see was the road right in front of me.

Yesterday was my last day of student teaching. I’ve a few weeks of seminars and paperwork and whatnot, but I’m almost done with college. It was a little strange to emerge from the fog of student teaching and realize there’s still a long road ahead of me. Like Anne Shirley’s road, it isn’t straight. There’s a bend in it, and I haven’t the slightest idea of what’s waiting for me beyond it.

But I’m not worried. The Lord has led me this far, and I know he will continue to lead me to wherever he wants me to be. As the old hymn says, ’tis grace that brought me safe thus far and grace will lead me home.

I just hope there are coffee shops along the way.

A note for those who know me personally and are wondering what my immediate plans are: I will be leaving Bethel College toward the end of November and staying with my parents and younger brother in Uruguay. I intend to search for a teaching position in South America, work seriously on a couple of novels, improve my Spanish, drink lots of coffee and spend time with my beloved family.

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