My roommate's name is Rachel. We met our freshman year in a class called MOMM, an acronym for the honors program core. She is a nursing major, a diabetic, and a former home-schooler. I never thought I would be her roommate, but during our second semester when we got to know each other better, we started to entertain the thought of being roommates. We talked about our likes and dislikes, what we have in common, our sleeping/study habits, and anything else roommates should know about each other. Sometime in April she said, "You know, if we room together I would not mind if the whole room was decorated in pink. Pink is my favorite color." That's when I knew we were soul sisters. This past year she has been incredibly supportive as I've journeyed through HeartSong and has been a huge encouragement to me, and I love her with all my heart.
The Monday night before Easter break, we had a rescheduled Green Team rehearsal that lasted until about midnight. After a long and exhausting day I came back to the room to a distressed Rachel who told me that she would probably be transferring colleges. Where she would be going she could get free tuition and would be closer to home and her job, and she would graduate college debt-free, which is something her parents wanted for her and something she wants, too, if she ends up as a missionary nurse overseas. She had come to that decision earlier that day and was worried the entire afternoon how I would react. I was so tired and suddenly so sad, but it was my turn to encourage. I gave her a huge hug and reminded her that God's plan is bigger than ours. In the same way that I left all my friends at Camp Carl for HeartSong, I told her, God was calling her to leave Cedarville for the bigger plan that He has for her life, and if she ended up transferring I would be okay. I could tell she was feeling a lot better when we went to bed.
But I woke up the next morning sad. In fact, for the next two days I was just really down and out of it. I was asking so many people for prayer, that maybe her application wouldn't go through or God would provide the money so that she could stay and be my roommate again. But I felt so selfish praying that way after what I told her that night; if God was calling her to follow His plan, why should I pray that He would change His mind and have her follow my plan instead? My friends were faithful in praying for peace for the two of us; they prayed that God's will would be done in our lives. On Wednesday night as we both packed for our Easter Break choir tour, I was feeling a little better and had committed not to think about it over the break.
Thursday morning 23 of us from the Concert Chorale and the Men's Glee Club left for New York City. We spent the break in NY, seeing the sights, getting to know each other, and spending way to much money. The highlight, and the reason we were there, of course, was when we rehearsed in the mornings with composer JOHN RUTTER and then on Easter Sunday performed Rutter's Gloria and a Gloria by Monteverdi in CARNEGIE HALL!! We celebrated Sunday night with a dinner cruise around Ellis Island with the rest of the performers (but being the only college-age group there, we hung out on the "quiet deck" away from the crazy high schoolers and taught each other to swing dance all night). Rachel and I spent almost every moment together, shopping and sightseeing and being with our choir friends, taking so many pictures with both of our cameras for a scrapbook we decided to make together so that we can each take a copy with us if she left.
This past week was rough in several ways. With assignments due, Facebook back in my life and eating away my time, group presentations, and trying to help Rachel through all her busyness and this emotional journey, I am sitting here completely drained. Rachel is away for a couple days visiting her new school and is about 99% sure she will be there next fall. This week I kept thinking about my friend Laura, my best friend in junior high who moved away just as we were starting high school, and how when she left we gradually lost touch. I was worried that would happen to Rachel and me. I also kept thinking about my roommate for next year. I could never find another "Roomie," and I don't want to; I don't want anyone to take Rachel's place because she is so beautiful and precious to me.
But when I stop and listen to God's voice, He reminds me to surrender. He reminds me of when I left everything I loved in Camp Carl to follow His call to try out for HeartSong. Just like Jesus' disciples. In Matthew 4:21-22, two brothers named James and John are getting ready to go fishing with their father; this is what they did, how they found their identity; they were a part of the family business and were comfortable that way. But Jesus calls them to follow Him, and they just stop what they're doing and follow. They don't stop and think and pray about it; they don't even talk it over with their father first! They just leave their father there to fish by himself. James and John did the right thing; when God called them, they followed, leaving everything that seemed comfortable and right for something much greater than they could ever anticipate. I feel a little like their father right now; how can they just leave him there without thinking about how hurt he would feel or all the work he would have to do by himself? Their father had to let them go and follow that call to a much greater plan for their lives than they could have found comfortable or profitable. In the same way, my boss and coworkers at Camp Carl had to let me go and follow God's plan to be on HeartSong, and already He has done so many things in me and through me that never would have happened if I did not follow Him. And in the same way again, I have to let my roomie go, because God has a bigger plan for her than I could ever have, and he orchestrates His plan so that we could be "for the praise of His glory." How could I ever stand in the way of that?
No one will ever take Rachel's place; there won't be another roommate that I could spend so much time with and invest in so much as I did Rachel. There will be many road trips, many late-night Skype dates, and many future memories for the two of us (for instance, we already decided that when we graduate she would be a nurse in NY and I would play piano on Broadway and we would live together in an apartment on Park Avenue and be roomies again). My new roommate will have to go by the name "room buddy" or something else endearing but not "Roomie," because that's Rachel. I will miss her so much next year. But God's plan is bigger than mine, and thank God that it is, because I would be so lost without Him. He knows what He's doing, and I can surrender my roomie over to Him because I know that He cares for her and has better plans for her than I could ever have. I am looking forward to seeing how God uses my beautiful roomie next year for His glory.