Well, that figures.
I let this blog gather cyber dust on a cyber shelf for four months, still in its ‘Christmas theme’! Work at World Vision was replaced by a lot of free time – and a lot of mental turmoil over what’s next as I trod everywhere through the web, researching the millions of options. My mind turned into Tevye from “Fiddler on the Roof,” thinking well on this hand… but then on the other hand… I learned a lot through the roiling but nothing I could solidify into a post. My waiting blog danced in the back of my mind, asking for a life update, but I didn’t know what to say, how to summarize what was going on.
Annnddd now college classes have started with a fury, I have enough assigned reading to fill every waking moment, and what do I suddenly have a desire to do? Write a blog post! Yeah for the strange productiveness produced by procrastination.
It is bizarre to think that it has now been four years since I was last taking community college classes. But before a mournful sense of stagnation attacks, I remind myself of just how many places I was able to work at and visit over those four years – from Rainier to the Tetons, Oregon to Europe. I remind myself that it doesn’t matter if it feels like I’ve gone full circle, but that I am coming back with a better sense of direction and purpose, with lessons learned and most importantly, so many wonderful friends made!
On my first day of plunging back into a world of papers and lectures and *gulp* thinking, I was reminded of a few old friends that went on their own journey. I’ve been encouraged to reflect that what they obtained is what I need. Let me set aside my terribly interesting International Relations book about the military-industrial complex and liberalism, and take just a moment to share with you what these folk say it takes for school – and life.
“Back where I come from, we have universities, seats of great learning, where men go to become great thinkers. And when they come out, they think deep thoughts and with no more brains than you have. But they have one thing you haven’t got: a diploma.” – The Wizard
An incognito elder due to my baby face, plunked back among the aimless freshies straight out of high school (or still in high school), I am finding my brain has become just a wee bit rusty over the years. Last week, I puzzled over why I was so tired driving home one day, and determined it’s probably because my mind has grown lazy and now has to start up and work again! So after a long day of school, my brain was tired.
As a believer in God, I think I can tend to compartmentalize what He gives me. I thank Him for food, for income, for the people in my life. I can tend to forget that my capacity to even reason and think comes from God, and that the moments when I am inspired or understand something, God deserves the glory!
As I face every school assignment, every stretching moment throughout life, it is a reminder to rely on the One who makes my body move, my lungs breathe, and my brain work – and to thank Him for it.
“All the same,’ said the Scarecrow,’I shall ask for brains instead of a heart; for a fool would not know what to do with a heart if he had one.’
‘I shall take the heart,’ returned the Tin Woodman, ‘for brains do not make one happy, and happiness is the best thing in the world.”
I always need to remember to have a heart, whether at work or school or on a city street… it is more comfortable to slip into disengagement. Seeing my fellow co-workers and students as faces, with no lives or history or dreams within them. Losing sight of why I want to study and obtain a bachelor’s. I slip into seeing things on the surface and cease to see deeper relationships as worth it, or focus on just getting by with a good grade without caring about the life impact I could let the class make on me.
In the very first class my sociology teacher lectured on the ‘Why’ – specifically, why were we taking his class and attending college – and how it was important to understand undertaking anything in life. A lot of students don’t think enough before they start college, and they simply get a college degree because their parents and society tell them ’tis the fitting thing to do, and they should get a good edj’macation so they can get a good job, so they can earn a lot, so they can buy a great house and retire well, so they can…? We live every today for the future, and yet do not look far enough.
Though I’ve plunged back into classes with a renewed zeal, it can get rather tedious turning in assignments and plugging through the thick textbooks (though there are pictures!). Enthusiasm for a subject, when it encounters some bumps and difficult areas, can wane quickly unless there is a bigger goal in mind. This may sound contradictory, but to keep my heart engaged requires keeping my eye on the present – right now – and on the why, the future goal. I’m not exactly sure just what degree I am getting and what it’ll look like when I graduate, but I know that I want to get involved in ministry serving the Lord overseas and a degree will ultimately equip me and open doors. And I’m OK with the unknowns. Mostly.
Which leads us to the last fellow and his quest for…
“You have plenty of courage, I am sure,” answered Oz. “All you need is confidence in yourself. There is no living thing that is not afraid when it faces danger. The true courage is in facing danger when you are afraid, and that kind of courage you have in plenty.”
Life takes a lot of courage. Like, a lot a lot. It takes courage to wait on the Lord. It takes courage to move. It takes bravery to tell the people in your life this is what you are headed towards… because what if the direction changes? Or what if you never make it?
The youth gets together his materials to build a bridge to the moon, or, perchance, a palace or temple on the earth, and, at length, the middle-aged man concludes to build a woodshed with them. -Thoreau
It takes courage to stay undefeated. To be an enduring dreamer. It takes courage to try without knowing everything first. To engage. It takes courage to let go of a dream, and courage to choose God’s dreams above the world’s. It takes courage to pursue – when it feels like everyone else is better at everything than you. It requires a brave person to take the blows of failure without letting go of hope.
This school quarter is already a quarter of the way done. And then who knows what’s next, and next, and next. It’s not for me to worry about. I want to simply focusing on having a brain, and a heart, and courage – for today.
As Joshua was told – Be strong and courageous
As a disguised King once said – You will have troubles but take heart – I have already overcome
And as another Lion once said – Courage, dear heart.
Now back to Kant-