Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Exactly How it's Supposed to Be

A teacher once told me that God had a plan for me.  That was about 20 years ago, when a small town teacher could make a religious comment and not lose her job.  The nation still respected your freedom of religion and didn't constantly beat you with a freedom from religion.  (That's a conversation for another day.)

I liked knowing God had a plan for me.   I kept my eyes open, waiting for that grand plan to be revealed.  I'm still waiting.  I once really loved "God has a plan."  But now, I think it's, well, stupid. 

Have you noticed when people use this old adage it's usually to justify some terrible decision they've made?  Or when an unfortunate or untimely death occurs?  Or to give reason to the unreasonable? 

Listen, people, sometimes shitty things happen for no reason at all. Or for humanly reasons, completely unconnected with the Lord. Or, my favorite reason, because God stands back and allows us to make our own decisions and feel pain.  

Yes, God has plans for each of us.  We don't know these plans.  However, we can keep our eyes open, listen with our hearts, and look for signs of what He wants from/for us.  

But how many of us do that?  Don't we typically get in the way?  We do what we want without thought of the consequences.  We become obsessed with what feels good in the present and give little thought to our futures.  We ignore our limitations.  

Grown adults make incredibly childish, selfish, stupid decisions.  We say it was an accident and throw out "God's plan" to justify what was really a natural consequence of poor judgment.  God will let you fail and give you space to find Him, to hear Him, to succeed.  Don't get in the way of that.  Don't miss your chance to be new again

(*Warning:  the video link features footage from The Passion of the Christ.  It is graphic and may not be suitable for children.) 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Made of Scars and Filled with My Old Wounds

It's been more than 10 years since I graduated from law school.  More than 13 years since I made the worst decision of my life and applied for admission.  What in Hell was I thinking?  Why didn't someone warn me:  Miss April, don't go. You'll take on $100K+ loan debt and you won't do a damn thing with your education. In 10 years, all you'll have is an overpriced piece of paper sitting in your attic closet and a collection of scars.

I hate myself for having been so stupid.  Why did I go, you ask? Honestly?  Because Dr. Stacia Straley told me to and (and this is a really big AND) my mother said I couldn't.  Her words when I told her I was applying were "Yeah, right."  She didn't believe in me and I was determined to throw that in her face.

Maybe she was right?  What good is graduating from an intense, expensive, law program if you piss it away?

I knew the first semester I did not want to be a lawyer.  I found it difficult to make friends with other law students.  It was clear that most of them grew up much differently than I did.  In 3 years, only 1 professor learned my name. (Section 1 friends: it wasn't Sahl! Ha!)

I was never impressed with the corporate world. I took an internship in a public defender office longing to find something to help me love the profession.  I left it feeling even more jaded.  It truly was a revolving door: the same clients over and over and over.  While I was mentored by 4 very fine attorneys, I identified more with the office staff.  The same is true of my first real job post law school.  I befriended the office secretary and felt "out of place" with the attorneys.  I DID NOT FIT IN.  You can't expect a gold fish to thrive in the ocean.

I was so busy running from my roots.  I wanted to be as detached from "po-dunk" as possible.  I wanted to show "them"  I was more valuable than they ever gave me credit for being.  All those smug, "I'm better than you" teens that made fun of me because they saw my mom use food stamps or noticed my free lunch. (I stopped eating school lunch in 11th grade because I was teased so badly.  It was humiliating.)

So I went to law school, completed 3 grueling years, graduated....suck it, naysayers... and then failed myself.  I happily accepted my husband's wish to move back to his hometown,  a crap town full of crap people who largely remind me of those I ran from.  (There are many wonderful exceptions. You know who you are. And I hope to meet many more.) I left a real profession to be a bar manager.  I wasted years at home.  My post-children brain is not what it once was.  I am no longer smart and often wonder if I ever was.

When I figured out what I wanted to be, graduate program admission counselors recommended teaching elementary kids.  My response was "No thanks.  Little kids give me hives."  <---That's true.  Instead, I opted to become licensed in grades 7-12 Integrated Social Studies and am apparently unemployable. Why?  Because I don't coach football.

School districts invent positions for football coaches.  Someone like me, with 2 advanced degrees, can't even land an interview.  *Sidenote: I wonder if I could sue all the districts in Ohio that have hired sub-par social studies teachers on behalf of the students they've failed?  (Here, failed means 'to let down' rather than 'to flunk.') Of course, if I did, I would never, ever, no-not ever be hired as an educator in any district in the nation.* I now realize admission counselors pushed me toward elementary education because I am a woman and am employable in elementary schools.  And now I almost wish I had listened.

So, here I am, nearing 35 years old, watching my teacher friends in the midst of their careers and I haven't started mine.  I graduated high school determined to make an impact on the world.  To change it.  But I've yet to do anything.  If life is a mirror, I have no reflection.