Today I received an email telling me that I didn't get the position that I applied for at a local company. Although I know that God will take care of everything, and that I'll have a job, and my fiance will have a job, I can't help but feel hopeless.

In our faith, we are taught to believe that no matter what happens, God is there for us and with us, working things out, and creating bigger and better opportunities. I teach my Religious Instruction kids this, telling them stories of bible greats who fell to the mighty power of doubt and hopelessness. But in their defence, who can blame them for giving up? For not fighting harder? For not getting stronger in the face of greater and greater adversity?

Thinking about men like Moses, John the Baptist, and Apostle Peter, I am struck by the incredible things they did - and how much we think about their weaknesses, held up as examples for how we must not be.

Moses lead people through the desert for forty years, listening to them grumble and complain, trying to understand why they had to take the long way, and watching people around him die, be born, grow, and die again. Can you imagine how hopeless of a situation that would be? One can say that they had everything provided for them - they never knew want in regards to food and shelter, and God was always with them, even talking to Moses in the form of burning bushes and the like. But after forty years, how faithful and hopeful could one human being possibly be? I would smash a rock for water if I were Moses, regardless of God's providence. In his position, I would.

John the Baptist was a prophet, heralding the coming of Jesus and baptising people. In the end, he ended up in jail and beheaded, because he was doing what he was told. Sitting in jail with Jesus alive and working miracles outside, John lost his faith, saying that maybe another was supposed to come because Jesus didn't break him out of jail. And one could say, it doesn't work that way - you don't just get everything you want because you've done good. You get what you need and should have because God knows that you should. But, how faithful and hopeful could one human being be if they did everything they should and still ended up in jail? In his position I'd rethink things too. I would.

Apostle Peter was the foundation of the first church that Jesus established. Although Peter denied his involvement with Jesus, Jesus still kept faith in him, and Peter in Jesus. But in the end, one can relate to Peter's denial. How faithful can one man be in the midst of a mobbing crowd of people who want to kill Jesus and anyone related? In his position, I'd at the very least be thinking about denying Jesus. I'll admit it. I would.

But that's what growth is for and what services are for - to become stronger and more hopeful. Going to church is a renewal of hope and of strength, so that in the face of greater adversity, one can stand up and ask God for water, sit in jail and think of how great Jesus is, and in the crowd of angry, murderous people, say proudly: "I know this Man. He is the Son of God, and I love Him."

And after this Wednesday's service I'll be able to say, in my unemployed, engaged to an unemployed man, state: "I will have a job, my fiance will have a job and God is great because He is the great Provider."

After this Wednesday's service. For now, I'm going to have to hold back the tears and the feeling of dread, and work on being stronger and more hopeful.


To invite or not to invite

When I was four years old my uncle sexually assaulted me. It wasn't rape and it wasn't invasive, but it was hurtful and confusing - mostly on the basis of lost trust and relationship with my uncle, and a weakened trust in men (mostly because of my dad's response (or lack thereof) to the event, which involved his brother).

Now my wedding is coming, and the question is, do we invite him? The man that still makes my stomach squirm and my skin crawl. The man who hurt me.

The man who made a mistake.

Should I be considering the event as the above - merely a mistake? Something that after almost twenty years I should be able to forget about?

My grandparents (his parents) don't understand why I wouldn't want him at my wedding, and although his name wasn't on the invitation we sent them, they still included his name on the reply card. My father says that he probably won't come, or if he does, he won't stay, so what's all the fuss?

And my fiance...my gorgeous fiance, says it's up to me, but we had already discussed it and we had decided that he's not coming.

And my mom? She says she'll take on my grandmother at any point. Just tell her when.

So what do I do?

Do I invite him, deal with him minimally, and ignore the fact that he is there?

Or not invite him, forever wonder about the hurt I'm causing him, and have to deal with my grandmother's confused, hurt face for the whole day?

I wish someone would just tell me what to do. This whole being an adult thing really sucks somedays.



Wedding invitations are a study in quantifying your relationships. All of a sudden you need to either come up with or pare down to a specific number of loved ones that you want to share your day with. And this is no easy feat.

There are those that are in your life today. You talk to them, love them, go out with them, see them, live with them, share your life with them - current best friends, university friends, church members, family friends. And you plan on continuing these relationships for an interminable time to come - therefore, they are invited.

Then there are those who you know you should invite - relatives from afar, people you might have met once or never in your life time that your parents insist must come, people who helped you become who you are, your boss (maybe), your eighth cousin. You don't see these people regularly, but you know that if you don't invite them, you will never hear the end of it. EVER. So, these people are invited.

Then there are those from your past lives. For me, this was looking at elementary school and high school friends, searching my heart for teachers and church members that watched me grow, people I loved and cherished in my more youthful days (I know I'm only 23, but there are a lot of people in my past!). And these people are fondly invited.

Then there are the relateds. I know that's not a real word, but as an English major, I'm taking the liberty of meeting my quota for made up words. The relateds are a group of people that are related to the people above. People you are inviting because the aforementioned people are invited - present love interests/partners/live-ins/fiances/fiancees/husbands/randoms. You don't know these people, but they come with the people you want to invite, and therefore your guest list has just doubled. Terrific. Fine. They are also invited.

And then there is the least desireable list - the list of people you aren't speaking to right this moment, but have a feeling if you don't include them in your day, then you will regret it, painfully, in the future. And I don't mean that they will hunt you down, tie you up, and demand why they weren't invited. I mean, when you become reconciled in the future, and you realize that your petty fight (which it usually turns out to be) prevented them from sharing your day with you, and all you can think about is how awful their absence was. That's the regret I'm talking about.

We have one such person on our guest list, and interestingly enough it is not my undesireable or my fiance's undesireable. It's my mother's.

She has been feuding with one of my uncles, and has declared that he shall not be invited. That if I do invite him, he will ruin my day by getting drunk and being an awful guest.

But I have to think...

In the future, when everyone is more old and grey, and my mother is speaking to her brother again, and we are attending his children's weddings...what will the regret feel like?

That's why I have invitations filled out and ready to send to my uncle, and his children, my cousins, just in case.

Just in case my mother realizes that she will sorely miss him when albums are pulled out, and cooed over, and his absence, instead of his drunken prescence, is the focus.

Just in case.


Inventing Julia

My life is just beginning, and I can feel it spreading out of my mind and my fingers and my feet. I can feel life overpowering me as I compose final essays and exams, write wedding invitations, and look for an apartment.

Can you feel your life, breathing inside of you, waiting to escape? Is this a normal feeling?

Is it normal to want to scream at everyone and everything that isn't your new life, that represents your old life? Is it normal to demand that everyone understand that this new life, this rebirth, this invention is the most important thing that has ever happened to you? Is it normal to want to shed off your old life, your old world, your old thoughts, your old dreams?

Is it normal to want to burn your past life to make way for the life that is full and new and green and brilliant and blinding and burning and evolving and now?

Welcome to your life.