You ALWAYS Have Time to Do What You Want – A Year in Review

Jewelry Class and Bible Study- March

“Cece, I’m definitely doing something wrong,” Lyndi said as she looked confused at the bent headpin squeezed in between the tips of the flat head pliers in her hand. I rounded the table and bent over her shoulder, looking intently at her work.

“You’re getting the idea,” I assured the 15 year old, “You’ve just got to bring the wire further around the curve before wrapping it.” I explained as she nodded and fiddled with the beaded pin. I knew she would get it, and on her next try, she did.

. . .

Graduation Day- May

“Cecelia Short,” Provost Richard Ray announced into the microphone after I handed him my name card. I walked across the stage, careful not to let my mortarboard blow away in the wind, and shook hands with President Bultman, taking my diploma case from him.

As I walked down the ramp for my photo op, I spotted my family in the stands, waving and yelling. A few were missing, most pressingly, my dad. “He’d be so proud of you,” Mom had said just days before. I really hoped that he was. I finished, and I finished well.

. . .

Moving out of college- May 

“Oh Cec-diz,” Rebecca said hugging me for the ‘last’ time. “Three years. So many good times,” she nodded and reminisced internally. “Man. Have a safe trip home!”

“Thanks Rebecca. Have an awesome time up north,” I said smiling, holding the tears back with all of my might. “I love you!”

“I love you too!” she said cheerily. My roommate climbed into her large car and drove off.

. . .

Engagement- May

Conor broke out of the hug, took off his backpack, began unzipping it, pulled out a small black box and said, “And with that—“ as he got down on one knee in front of me in the middle of the aisle. “Cece, will you marry me?” I was in complete shock. In no way did I expect this today. “Yes,” I replied through a smile and a foggy mind. He put the solitaire diamond ring on my finger, stood, and hugged me again, both of our hearts racing.

. . .

 Learning I was having a niece, not a nephew- June

“It’s a girl!” Chelsea exclaimed with slightly forced enthusiasm through the phone.

“Oh! Cool!” I said in similar tones. We’d all banked on a boy. We all knew that we had no control over the sex of the baby and we were going to be excited either way.

“Yeah, we were pretty shocked. But it’s okay!” Chelsea replied. A few weeks later at their apartment Chelsea and Malvin opened a box of pink balloons, showing their guests that they in fact were having a girl, and not one face was free of a smile. We couldn’t wait to meet her.

. . .

 Jewelry and Basic Metalsmith Class- June-August

“Watch, and then do,” Leslie repeated for probably the twentieth time, as she demonstrated pick soldering to the class. The soldering torch glowed blue in her hand as she made the flame dance around the metal that she worked with. There was the world of jewelry that I never thought I would jump into, and here I was in a solder room, and I loved it.

. . .

I’ve learned a lot this year. Much of what I’ve learned has been about faith, whom I have become, jewelry making, and surprisingly, how all of those converge.

I’ve experienced a variety of beautiful firsts and lasts these past twelve months: graduating from college; saying goodbye to my church home in Holland, Michigan; seeing the people that had become some of my best friends go in all different directions, not knowing when we’d be all together again; getting engaged to the most incredible person I know; getting my first after-college job, and leaving it four months later; experiencing my sister go through her first pregnancy and then meeting the little girl that is her daughter; taking my first metalsmith jewelry class; planning a wedding; celebrating Christmas with two different families rather than just one.

These experiences were held in time, formed by relationships, and orchestrated by the God that loves us, all coming together to mold me. This year I fell deeper in love with three things:  a man named Conor, the art of jewelry making, and the God that made it all possible.

Engagement has meant a lot of thought and conversation about marriage. A piece of advice that has been tossed around by a few different wise voices has been that marriage is like holding a mirror up to yourself and seeing all of your flaws. I’ve gotten a sneak peek of that in this time of engagement and I’ve noticed things about myself that I don’t like and that I know Conor probably doesn’t enjoy either. With this revelation of faults in regards to my future marriage to Conor, came also the uncovering of faults in my personal time.

My youth pastor growing up, Pastor Steve Bolen, a very wise man, used to say to us often, “You ALWAYS have time to do what you want to do.” As a sophomore in high school I thought he was wrong, because of course I always had time for my homework even though I never actually wanted to do it. Then I reached my early twenties and realized that he in fact was very right. What I didn’t understand in my teen years was that the things that you make time for are the things that you actually want to do; those are the things that you naturally are drawn to. As sinful people, this can be dangerous.

I ALWAYS have time to watch Netflix. ALWAYS. How much time have I spent making jewelry this year? Not as much time as I’ve spent watching a number of full series of shows on my computer. I’ve often complained later that I wish I had more time to make jewelry. The truth is that the time was always there, I simply chose not to use it to hone my craft.

That’s another thing that learning about marriage has taught me: we have a lot of choices to make. Love is a choice. There are going to be days that I don’t want to love Conor, but I will choose to do so anyways because of my commitment to him, and he will do the same for me. There are always days that I don’t want to sit in my room and study my Bible and pray, but if I don’t choose to spend that time with the Lord, then my spiritual growth will likely be stunted. If I don’t spend time working on jewelry and all the different aspects of it, I’ll never improve. This is the way that it goes. I’ve come to believe that God doesn’t always miraculously break our bad habits for us because he wants us to deeply want to do so. We have to choose to want it. I have to choose to want to do the things and love the God and people that make my life richer and eternally more meaningful.

I rejoice in the fact that we get to encounter a God that gives us such freedom to choose and make such mistakes as watching the entire series of Felicity on Netflix instead of posting listings on Etsy. I love that I get to learn in such a practical way, even though many a time I have grumbled. I know that I will keep looking back on this year and noticing different things that I’ve learned as time continues to pass, and that’s one of the many beauties of this life.

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