My brother doesn't seem too keen on the idea of me going back to school to get my teaching license.
Not that it matters what he thinks but he ended up giving me a mini lecture on using my writing talents and how I shouldn't give up what I want and compromise my heart's desires because something looks a little too hard and I'd like to take the easy way out.
I think I got mad at him.
Not because I thought he was wrong, but because I knew he was partially right.
I'm afraid of jumping into this teaching thing because a part of me is afraid I'm compromising what I've really always wanted.
And I've always wanted to "change the world" through my writing. You know, inspire people, and move people to take action and make people think and consider things in a new light.
I know, I know, I know. "But you can change the world through teaching!" Yes, I get that. "But you can write AND be a teacher at the same time!" I get that too. But is that really what I want to do?
My brother's girlfriend is a high school art teacher...and she loves her job. But she's a really talented artist too. Yet she never has a chance to work on her art because her whole life is consumed with being a teacher. Even in the summertime, she's just too tired to want to do anything with it because she's worn herself out teaching.
Two of my sisters teach and while they seem to love their jobs I often wonder if they wish they had gone another direction. They both were wonderfully musically talented and now they rarely use those talents because they're elementary school teachers...they have no time or opportunity to use those gifts.
And I wonder if they regret it at all. I highly doubt it. I think these people were born teachers.
But that's what I don't know. Am I a born writer or a born teacher? Because I don't want to regret the career path that I choose. I don't want to regret not using my writing talents. And while I could use those talents in the classroom, I wonder if I'll have time or energy to do anything with them outside of the classroom.
Choosing teaching would be the easiest solution for me. Once I had my teaching license I could get a job practically anywhere, finding a teaching job would be much, MUCH easier than finding a writing job and my work schedule would be ideal. But I can't go into teaching just because it might be easier than being a writer.
And yet, at the same time, I still get excited at the thought of teaching kids how to write and opening them up to a world of great literature.
But the question is...would I rather teach people to write or would I rather do it myself?
And then there's the question of school...do I want to go back and end up paying off student loans for the next 50 years? Yeah, not so much.
I don't know. I'm feeling very fickle right now. I don't know what I think or what I want or what I think I want or what I think of what I want anymore...
The other day my boss introduced me to Wayne...the guy helping us hang Christmas lights on the outside of the store. He introduced me as Suzanne...of course...and then laughed and looked at Wayne and said, "She just LOVES when I call her that."
So I laughed and smiled and went back to work trying to figure out how the heck the man could be so stupid as to not realize that there's a reason I hate it when he calls me that. Namely, because it isn't my freaking name.
But apparently he was talking to my coworker yesterday telling her how "Suzanne" set up the fountain display. She just stared at him and rolled her eyes (which I greatly appreciate since I can't seem to object myself to his stupidity, no I just smile and laugh.) But he caught the look and he shot a look right back at her. "I know her name is Sueanne. I just call her that to irritate her."
I thought he was just stupid. Turns out he's sick and sadistic as well.
Not that I'm actually upset about it, but I can't figure out what makes me such an easy target. All my life I've been teased and bothered because guys, for some reason, find my reactions unendingly entertaining. They'll go to unheard of lengths to irritate me.
I mean, now I have a 50-something stooping to the level of a 7th grader because he thinks it's fun to irritate me?
I don't get it.
How are my reactions any different from the reactions of anyone else?
I mean, I know I can be a little high-strung...and I do get all high pitched and squeaky and animated when I get mad but...
Nevermind. I think I just answered my own question.
I discovered that I could get my Bachelor of Arts degree in English quite easily. All I would need is three more classes, that's nine more credits. That'd be a cake walk. And apparently, once I had that, I'd be qualified to teach English and/or writing at a two or four year university.
But to be a high school English teacher, I would need to get my Bachelor of Science degree and teacher licensure which would require me to complete 54 more credits. So what, that's 18 credits for 3 semesters?
And if I did go into teaching, I'd really like to teach high school.
I don't know if I have the strength. Going back to school wouldn't be so bad, it'd be going back to Bemidji that would make it so hard. I just don't know that I want to go back there.
Plus, I had completely different plans than becoming a teacher. I always wanted a life less ordinary. But the life of a teacher strikes me as extraordinarily ordinary.
I went to a high school play tonight with some people from work.
This year it was Disney's "Beauty and the Beast."
First of all, I don't know what the director was thinking when he chose it for this year's production. It's Disney. For the love of PETE, it's DISNEY! It was a cartoon, people! A good cartoon, but a cartoon nonetheless and suddenly since Disney's pretty much taken over the rest of the world they think they can just turn their CARTOONS into STAGE PLAYS? What is that? Because I have a news flash for you, kids. You can't! Nuh-uh! No, you cannot. So don't even try...
What, there aren't enough classic plays out there? Suddenly you need to resort to this pop-culture, commercial (pardon the expression) crap??? It's THEATRE...not Toon Disney...so...don't even bother going there!
See? This is why I should be running things around here...
ANYWAY..I haven't been in that auditorium and in that school for four years. And I know four years isn't a long time, but when I walked in there, I felt overwhelmingly weird...and a little sad.
I know I shouldn't feel sad. I wasn't the biggest fan of high school, but yet there are times when I just really miss it; the people and the teachers and the activities and the...schoolishness of it all. And I really missed it. Like a lot. Like...A LOT. Like a lot in a really weird way.
And I started to freak myself out...
I mean, what is wrong with me?
When I left both high school and college, I was overcome with a sadness at the mere thought of never seeing my teachers and professors again, not to mention my classmates. But it was the teachers and professors that really bothered me. They weren't like friends to me, I wasn't close to them, and yet they had somehow managed to impact me like no one else.
I've never told anyone this...because I've been a bit afraid to admit it to even myself...but...when I'm really honest with myself and I ask myself what job I would LOVE to have...I know I would LOVE to be a high school English teacher.
Waking up at 6:30 after going to bed at 1:00 the night before and trying to convince yourself that you can sleep while you lay there for another hour and a half and try not to think about the eight hour day ahead of you that will be spent entirely on your feet despite the fact that you will have nothing to do except pace the floors and look half-way conscious...
What you're about to read is going to sound ludicrous, absurd and completely untrue. But it is true. We just can't believe it because we're too stupid to realize the full power of God.
It is striking to me how – both in Scripture and in present-day examples – stories of water-walking are almost always stories about prayer. There is something about getting out of the boat that turns people into intense pray-ers, because they are aware that they cannot accomplish things without God’s help.
One of my favorite adventures in prayer involves Doug Coe, who has a ministry in Washington, D.C., that mostly involves people in politics and statecraft. Doug became acquainted with Bob, an insurance salesman who was completely unconnected with any government circles. Bob became a Christian and began to meet with Doug to learn about his new faith.
One day, Bob came in all excited about a statement in the Bible where Jesus says, “Ask whatever you will in my name, and you shall receive it.”
“Is that really true?” Bob demanded.
Doug explained, “Well, it’s not a blank check. You have to take it in context of the teachings of the whole Scripture on prayer. But yes—it really is true. Jesus really does answer prayer.”
“Great!” Bob said. “Then I gotta start praying for something. I think I’ll pray for Africa.”
“That’s kind of a broad target. Why don’t you narrow it down to one country?” Doug advised.
“All right. I’ll pray for Kenya.”
“Do you know anyone in Kenya?” Doug asked.
“Ever been to Kenya?”
“No.” Bob just wanted to pray for Kenya.
So Doug made an unusual arrangement. He challenged Bob to pray every day for six months for Kenya. If Bob would do that and nothing extraordinary happened, Doug would pay him five hundred dollars. But if something remarkable did happen, Bob would pay Doug five hundred dollars. And if Bob did not pray every day, the whole deal was off. It was a pretty unusual prayer program, but then Doug is a creative guy.
Bob began to pray, and for a long while nothing happened. Then one night he was at dinner in Washington. The people around the table explained what they did for a living. One woman said she helped run an orphanage in Kenya—the largest of its kind.
Bob saw five hundred dollars suddenly sprout wings and begin to fly away. But he could not keep quiet. Bob roared to live. He had not said much up to this point, and now he pounded her relentlessly with question after question.
“You’re obviously very interested in my country,” the woman said to Bob, overwhelmed by his sudden barrage of questions. “You’ve been to Kenya before?”
“You know someone in Kenya?”
“Then how do you happen to be so curious?”
“Well, someone is kind of paying me five hundred dollars to pray…”
She asked Bob if he would like to come visit Kenya and tour the orphanage. Bob was so eager to go, he would have left that very night if he could.
When Bob arrived in Kenya, he was appalled by the poverty and the lack of basic health care. Upon returning to Washington, he couldn’t get this place out of his mind. He began to write to large pharmaceutical companies, describing to them the vast need he had seen. He reminded them that every year they would throw away large amounts of medical supplies that went unsold. “Why not send them to this place in Kenya?” he asked.
And some of them did. This orphanage received more than a million dollars’ worth of medical supplies.
The woman called Bob up and said, “Bob, this is amazing! We’ve had the most phenomenal gifts because of the letters you wrote. We would like to fly you back over and have a big party. Will you come?”
So Bob flew back to Kenya. While he was there, the president of Kenya came to the celebration, because it was the largest orphanage in the country, and offered to take Bob on a tour of Nairobi, the capital city. In the course of the tour they saw a prison. Bob asked about a group of prisoners there.
“They’re political prisoners,” he was told.
“That’s a bad idea,” Bob said brightly. “You should let them out.”
Bob finished the tour and flew back home. Sometime later, Bob received a phone call for the State Department of the United States government:
“Is this Bob?”
“Were you recently in Kenya?”
“Did you make any statements to the president about political prisoners?”
“What did you say?”
“I told him he should let them out.”
The State Department official explained that the department had been working for years to get the release of these prisoners, to no avail. Normal diplomatic channels and political maneuverings had led to a dead end. But now the prisoners had been released, and the State Department was told it had been largely because of…Bob. So the government was calling to say thanks.
Several months later, the president of Kenya made a phone call to Bob. He was going to rearrange his government and select a new cabinet. Would Bob be willing to fly over and pray for him for three days while he worked on this very important task?
So Bob—who was not politically connected at all—boarded a plane once more and flew back to Kenya, where he prayed and asked God to give wisdom for the leader of the nation as he selected his government. All this happened because one man got out of the boat.
--"If you want to walk on water, you've got to get out of the boat" by John Ortberg
I'm getting tired of answering the same questions day...after day...after day.
From my friends, from my family, from my coworkers, from random people who randomly start chatting me up.
"Do you have a job lined up yet?"
"How's the job search going?"
"What are your plans?"
"What are you going to do?"
Okay. I get it. I'm a college graduate. I left that institution of higher learning five months ago. Certainly by now I should have found a job, moved away, begun my career. And if not, then certainly I'm married or about to be and have at least that much going for me.
In an effort to stop the incessant questions and inquiries, here's my final answer:
I do not know what the hankel I'm doing, where I'm going, or how I'm going to get there.
Yes, I know, as a "responsible" human being, I should have all this planned out. I should know exactly where my life is going so I can avoid all those nasty little bumps in the road. But I don't. So stop hassling me.
I've come to the conclusion that one cannot move forward unless they know where they're going.
I don't know where I'm going. So rather than make it up as I go along, I'm going to wait it out until I do know where I'm going.
The best thing to do when you don't know what to do? Nothing. Just wait it out.
I know. It's a crazy idea. It's just not the American way. I'm supposed to pull myself up by my boot straps and make something happen. I'm supposed to make my own way, plan my own destiny. It's all up to me. What am I doing about it? I need to do something!
I've been convincing myself of that the past few months. "What is wrong with you?! You need to do something! Don't just sit there! Do something! It's not just going to fall into your lap!"
This I realize. Things don't just fall into peoples' laps. But like I said before...I don't know what I'm doing.
I have so many questions that I haven't answered yet: Do I want to keep writing? Is that really my passion? Do I want to spend the rest of my life doing that? Do I want to go back to school and find a different career path? Is there another career field that would be more fulfilling where I can make a difference? Do I want to go back and get my Master's so I can be better prepared to be a writer (if that's truly what I want)? Do I want to get married, settle down, and let my husband take care of me?
What do I want?!
Better yet, what does the Lord want for me? What does He want me to be doing?
I'm still figuring that out.
Until I know, I'm going to keep doing what I've been doing: taking it one day at a time. I'm going to keep working, I'm going to keep saving, I'm going to keep writing, I'm going to keep finding out more about myself until I figure out what I want, and I'm going to keep praying until I know what the Lord wants from me.
I'm not going to take the first opportunity that comes my way because I have to. The Lord has given me gifts, he's given me strengths, he's given me passions and he's given me a purpose. I'm not going to waste that at a job and on a life that isn't going to glorify him and fulfill his purpose for my life. I'm not going to get all worked up because everybody else thinks I need to DO something...NOW...before everyone starts getting worried that I'm not going to amount to anything.
If I'm going to be happy, I need to wait on the Lord for His guidance in what I should be doing with my life. It's not about what everyone else thinks I should be doing.
I recently came across this which further confirmed to me that it's OKAY to be doing what I'm doing and to wait this "not-knowing" out.
"God did not place you on this earth to waste away your years in labor that does not empoly his design or purpose for your life." --Arthur Miller
"God is a careful worker and does not waste any resources. The competencies and skills you have acquired until now matter to him and may be squandered if you leave your current situation too quickly." --Gordon Smith
So, if you don't mind, I don't know what I'm doing, but He does...