Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: GREEN (01/19/17)
TITLE: Too Much Too Soon
By Jennifer Woodley
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“Are you sure Tim?” they asked doubtfully. “You’ve only just finished school. Perhaps a gap year would be a good alternative? Get a job, meet some people, live a bit more of life.”
But he wouldn’t listen to their advice.
The leisurely summer holidays ended and the rush of university began. Four subjects over twelve weeks. Somewhere in the jumble of text books, lectures, assignments, forums and exams, Tim juggled a casual job. The semester seemed to drag on exceptionally slow. His parents became concerned. They watched as Tim’s footsteps became heavier, his shoulders permanently slumped forward and the bright flash of light always present in his shining eyes had been replaced by a dull, dazed stare. No longer buoyant and engaging, he was withdrawn and sullen.
“What was the most life-giving part of your week Tim?” his mother asked at the dinner table one evening. She noticed his heaviness of spirit, as if all the theories in Tim’s textbooks were bearing heavily down upon him.
“Hmm?” he answered absentmindedly.
“Tim what brought you the most joy this week?” his dad questioned.
Tim’s bottom lip quivered and his eyes filled with tears. He put his fork down and slumped back in his chair, exhaling deeply.
This was hard for Tim; for a boy who usually kept it altogether. Yet he was crushed. Crushed with the weight of carrying a load he could no longer bear. He had fought to remain upbeat and positive, telling himself this was the right degree for him. But Tim could no longer deny that things were falling apart.
The most life-giving part of his week? Tim struggled to answer his parent’s question. Struggled to look them in the eye. Struggled to believe that there was any joyous part in what he had chosen to do. He had been so naïve to think that studying this degree would be as easy as eating his mum’s sweet apple pie. He was too young. Not ready. And nothing made sense anymore.
“Mistakes are for learning Tim” he heard his dad say quietly. “No mistakes, no maturing. Tim, tell me what gives you joy.”
The boy looked up into his dad’s smiling face. A gentle, aged face that always made Tim feel loved and accepted. No judgement there. Tim instantly felt encouraged.
“I just want to make people smile” he answered slowly. I like to serve the customers at work, take them their meal and see them happy.”
“Tim there’s no need to be weighed down with the load of a degree to do that” said his mother. “If that is life-giving for you, then that is where God is leading you. Leave the high expectations you’ve placed on yourself behind. You are young. Stop striving to be more than you are meant to be just now.”
Tim breathed a sigh of relief. He felt free. Freer than he had felt all semester.
“Do you know what has been the most life-giving part of my week?” the young man said. “Having this conversation. Thanks for encouraging me to be me.”
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