Nine years ago I received a letter in the mail dated February 14, 2003. The first line read something to the effect of “Congratulations! We’re happy to inform you that you have been accepted to the University of Michigan…”
I didn’t think of the letter much when I received it. I was sure I would be going to college elsewhere. But in the next couple of months, everything turned upside, and I had no idea what to do. After many thoughts and prayers, it seemed the answer to not knowing what to do was to move to Ann Arbor, Michigan for college. To this day, I believe this was one of the best decisions of my life.
In the fall of 2006, another quarter-life crisis struck. I was at the beginning of my senior year of college, and I didn’t know where I was to move on to after graduating. Was I really supposed to go to law school? I didn’t know what to do–and the answer was, no don’t go–yet. Stay in Ann Arbor.
After five years in Ann Arbor, the time to move on did come. I moved to Charlottesville, Virginia and began my career as a law student. I was convinced after my first year of law school that I was going to do academic research, but I was strongly counseled against it. Again, I had no idea what to do, again, the answer was to return to Ann Arbor.
I’ve felt stuck the last several months since passing the bar exam. I’ve had some part-time work, but knew I needed something more. I had the option to pursue a post-graduate fellowship–receive a livable stipend in exchange for doing 40 hours of volunteer work–and decided to go for it at the last-minute.
Two cities opened up: Lansing and Ann Arbor. Didn’t know what to do. Started leaning one way, then leaning the other way. So again, prayer, reflections, and advice seeking. On February 14, 2012, nine years after the first time Ann Arbor opened up to me as an option, I decided to return.
It was a hard decision, the other position was also an awesome opportunity that I was a little sad to let go of. But I had peace I’d made the right decision. The day after I made my decision (yesterday) I received a phone call. It began with me convinced they were taking back the fellowship and I was going to have to scramble and beg the other office to still have me. But it ended with the possibility that the fellowship may turn into a full-time job–soon. Even if the fellowship doesn’t end in full-time employment, that phone call was affirmation enough to know that Ann Arbor was the right place to go right now.
Reflecting over the last nine years, it’s funny to see how different people, ideas, and even places come up over and over again in life. I’m not saying this will always be the case. But for the last decade, it definitely seems those times when I most didn’t know what to do or where to go, the answer was always “go to Ann Arbor.” Ann Arbor in my life, has had a special place during this time. And with each return, it becomes even more special, a reminder that God is in control, and He has a plan.