Submission is My Source of Sustenance
Here’s how I came to believe so….
Should one put it down to the result of exertion to pursue an academic career? The conscious choice to succeed in the land of opportunities? The question occurred to me while lounging alone in my apartment, thousands of miles away from home with just the TV and notebook for company. Where my American dream turned out to be perhaps less of dream (and more of harsh reality) shorn of all the flawless filigrees.
In the last two years here as an international graduate student, experiencing almost a lifetime of emotional upheavals many say growing up entails, sometime euphoric, sometime arduous, I seem to have lost something dear – precious moments with loved ones had I stayed back.
This makes me ask why I picked this path. Is it fair to make this sacrifice? Is my prospective doctorate degree worthy of this forfeiture? And there are moments when these questions perturb me more.
Weeks ago, I longed for my time with granny and wished I had wings to rush back home. Only if wishes were horses…. It was then I realized how I had gotten caught in a web of responsibilities, ties, and chores, from which there was no escape. I felt restricted, helpless, and anxious each time I yearned for a quiet meeting but failed to show up by her hospital bedside. I had no clue when I would see her; if I could clutch those icy, frail hands, 90 winters old, once more; and with these thoughts I died a million deaths.
But, there were umpteen moments when my success made my loved ones very proud; cherished occasions when I was commended for fulfilling their wishes and desires. The smiles in their voices and a sense of satisfaction in their tones, in those instances, made my life seem worth living and my decision worth millions. It’s during these fleeting moments of contentment that my skepticism disappears into nothingness.
Thus, in all the dilemma and paradox life is, I have come to accept as true that the answers to questions I seek from life are brought by living, experiencing, and believing in destiny. The answers are not in challenging but in submitting to what life has in store for me. The answers are not in what my sacrifices will bring me, but in being optimistic and discovering pleasure and solace, happiness and meaning in moments of both triumph and turmoil. This belief helps me see light in moments of frightening darkness, helps me find reason in pleasure and pain; this belief helps me carry on.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.