I broke the news that I’m planning to stay in England for a bit longer on Twitter yesterday morning. I don’t think anyone was shocked by that revelation, but I didn’t come the decision easily. Here’s how it happened:
For months now, lots of months, my plan was to apply for (and hopefully get) an internship with an anti-slavery organization this fall. That seemed to me to be the natural progression. Master’s degree, then internship, then job… So, I applied, had a couple of interviews with the very cool organization, Falling Whistles, and then I realized just exactly what was happening…
Getting that internship would mean leaving Hull. In mid-August. Moving to either LA or DC. Starting a 40-hour -week internship. AND trying to finish my dissertation, which isn’t actually due until the end of September. I had a feeling these were going to be two of the worst months of my life. Leaving a city, country, and people that I love…..trying to do what I’m passionate about, but completely overwhelmed both emotionally and academically/professionally…..I was terrified.
But I felt like that was what I was supposed to do. Then, dad said something that rocked my world, “You can stay in Hull if you want to.” It was as if that had never crossed my mind. Once it did, I had a LOT to process. Over the next week or so, I thought and I prayed and I wrote out all the pros and cons and I prayed some more. God didn’t give me the instant, unmistakable sign I wanted, but here’s what he did give me:
- At church, we started a series on Moses. On the first Sunday, Andy Farqs spoke on Moses’ early life. He said, “Before God wants to do great things through you, God wants to do great things in you.” The next Sunday, John Clarke continued the story. Moses was passionate about the plight of the Hebrews, an enslaved people (correlation, much?). But the time wasn’t right for him to do anything about it. Not for 40 years. And John said this and it hit me pretty hard, “We must never short cut the preparation stage.”
- A man on the bus started talking to me, asked the usual questions, and said, “When you finish, will you go back or stay here for a while?” Of course I didn’t want to get into all the details, but what I said was as much to myself as it was to him: “Well, I really like it here, and my visa lets me stay in the country for a while, so I’d like to stay as long as I can.”
- Gwyn prayed for me. And when she prayed, she told me she got a picture of an oasis, an oasis that’s always been there but I’ve ignored. And I thought, “Maybe Hull’s the oasis. The place I feel happy and refreshed. The place I thought I had to leave.”
- I emailed my nearest and dearest, people who know me, people who will tell me the truth, people who I won’t see now for another few months, and mom, dad, TJ, AND Emily all said, in their own ways, “Of course you should stay if you can!”
Circumstances. The Word. Other people. It all sort of fell into place. I emailed Falling Whistles and told them the truth… “not the right time….would love to reapply for the Spring internship….will be there if you need me…” They sent a vague response, and I kept asking the Lord for a clear sign.
Tuesday morning, I woke up, checked my email, and there it was. I hadn’t been accepted as an intern. (How’s that for a sign?) I’ve never been so relieved to be rejected. Maybe it was because of the email I sent. Maybe I wasn’t going to be accepted anyway. I’ll never know. But whatever the reason, it means I’m free to stay in Hull, focus on finishing my dissertation, enjoy England some more, and I’m very, very happy about it.
All of the pictures above are reasons why I’m glad to stay. Here are a few more: