“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –
I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.
– Emily Dickinson
Usually, like most people I can get worried when it comes to exams. People tell you it’s not the end all or whatever. However, when the days pass by, it becomes harder to forget that exams aren’t everything and it can’t kill you physically.
Now, I don’t want to talk about exam stress and worry, because in a weird way, I use that energy as adrenaline – the flight or fight thing, and I always come out fighting.
This spring/summer not so much. It’s been more flight than fighting. Cloud of despair coming from nowhere, clouding my thoughts and answers. I wish I had recorded my internal thoughts whilst doing my exam, because sometimes it felt like it wasn’t me speaking, but a whole different person.
You know that my catchphrase is ‘Twice the Temi, Double the infectious JOY’ – well this time there was no Joy. I could not see hope, with darkness clouding my thoughts.
My first exam which I was looking forward to, the one that I want to do a project in, is the one that instigated the trouble, that I would see in the remaining 6 exams.
For the first time in my life, I sat in an exam and just wanted to give up, not write anything and cry, as in, wail out loud – this never happens to me, I mean even when a question I don’t understand comes up, I just make up crap, but this time, I didn’t want to make up crap. I just wanted to get up and leave, all because the graph paper was incorrect.
Now when I reflect back on the situation, I thank God that I prayed for strength and peace, because I would have given up without it. I wouldn’t have moved on to the next question. I wouldn’t have been revived internally and then prepared to conquer the graphs. I could hear the Lord telling me, ‘keep going, keep going, keep moving on.’ – isn’t it weird, when you think your world is crumbling before you and then God comes along, grabs you before the ground falls and sets you on a different path, cradling you, as you walk, urging you to go on.
I don’t want to say that after that exam, the rest of my exams were a piece of cake, because nope! It was a weird struggle. I would look forward to the exam, only to be pissed off or tired due to tears. Prayer and my friends pulled me through.
My God is a good God. There was a time, where I had cried until I slept, then I got a cold, which you know takes up useful revision time. It’s so extraordinary, because throughout the night, I was struggling with exam revision and wondering whether I was going through a mental breakdown, when I remembered the ‘He loves us’ song – Kim walker & Jesus culture’s version. That completely set me off, but this time, I didn’t waste time on tears. I still had my cold as well, but as it got closer to the exam, it disappeared. The cold no longer present, only left with a random energy for the exam. This is the exam that weighed a lot and was heavily organic chemistry, so you can see how grateful I was, that my body was in the right mindset.
I wish I could go into detail about how I felt before and after the exam, but I just want you to know that this was my first time feeling like this, so I didn’t know how to handle it, it was a random experience with no instructions.
All hope is lost, so how did I retrieve it?
It came at the right time! I went to church. I know, exams right, there’s no time to waste, every minute counts. But I knew from previous experience, that if you leave God out of an area in your life, it is going to be dim in comparison to the rest of your life, where God is present.
For the first time, in my life, I knew for sure, by myself that God was speaking to me. The worship songs, one after the other kept pulling at my heart. I cried tears of joy, as I acknowledged, that God could see my situation and that He would pull me through. That I would make it. Songs of hope, how much God loved us and to have no fear. We then had special guest come from America, to speak about ‘Hope.’ Reviving my dead bones! I held strong to this message and God’s love for me, to pull through the exams, praying earnestly, not only for myself but my friends, that we will make it to the next year.
My last exam was a surprise. Law & ethics. Not my favourite topic, but that doesn’t mean I hate it. It just means that if I had a choice, I wouldn’t choose it. The exam was near perfection, the short and long answers were enjoyable. The emq were tolerable. When I finished that exam, I left with a smile and a fist pump.
And as I write this I think, beauty for ashes.
Sorrow may come in the night, but Joy comes in the morning.
The way I started is completely different from the way I ended.
He did it for me and I know He’ll continue to do so!