Strange Confessions: I am a little bit jealous of my wife, my best friend, for getting a teaching job at the local Christian school.
For years I have not known what I wanted to be when I grow up, and being forty-four years old, I still don’t really know. Perhaps, until now.
When I was in elementary school I wanted to be a veterinarian. I was told I had a way with animals and I did like them; I could make friends with any animal that I came in contact with. Slowly, slowly that desire started to fade away. I envy people who see what they want to be at a young age, and then with every intent and purpose they go after it with zeal. There are those who get into college, take a few courses, change majors a few times, and graduate in their chosen field. Sure maybe they didn’t have such a pursuant desire as the former, but their goals are achieved nonetheless.
When I got went to college, my chosen field was the Utah State University, Forestry program. I hiked a lot in my latter years of High School and just loved and appreciated all the outdoors had for me. Living in walking distance of the Wasatch Range in the Salt Lake valley sure improved my outlook when I was down. We would occasionally go camping and the rangers would make their rounds in the morning, talking and meeting new people everyday was such a thrilling outlook for me, that, that is what I wanted. Alas, as I have written before, I struggle with some depression, and this time in my life, Fall of 1987 to the Spring of 1988, occurred some of the absolute worst bouts I had against the dreaded lurking blackness. I grew disillusioned with the staff and the students there. More likely what affected me there was my depression. It was the first time away from home, I was poor, I was hungry, I needed a good friend, and most people were only interested in studying or partying at one time or another. I see that now what I really needed then, my strong sense of needing to belong, needing to know people cared had to be fulfilled or I would whither away and perish, which I did metaphorically. I stopped going to classes, started partying too much, isolated myself in my room for longer periods of time. I had a grant that I lost that year because of failing or incomplete grades. That year was I time I would most like to forget, but like most things I see now, it was a part of who I am now, and I should never forget it.
I tried again the next year to go to USU, without classes, without money. My plan was to get the job back I had, a copy dude at one of the many campus copy centers, work hard, stay away from bad influences, and make enough to start classes again. But, the first week there, all the pain and emptiness poured over me and I froze in panic, called my Mom and begged her to come and get me. My Nana had to come and get me. On the ride home, I was defeated. Low and empty I said nothing. It was a bitter disappointment. For me, people or places in which I was with during strong depressive states, I cannot revisit. There was this guy named Carlos I went to High School with. Even now thinking about him causes me anxiety and an inner sadness I find hard to deal with. Well, that is what I learned with the USU campus. We would travel through Logan valley years later and stop at the dairy college to get some ice cream and it would make me feel hollow just looking around. Although I loved driving up Logan Canyon. I remember two specific instances up there that I had a very good time up there, so that is a good place.
I ended up getting a job at Fred Meyer and worked there for several years with a small break in between. My second stint with Fred’s introduced me to my future wife and a friend who started working at Kinko’s. After a few years of marriage, I too began working at Kinko’s and I’ve been in the printing industry since. Hrrmm, looking at that now, I’m none too proud of my work “choices”. For it seems that almost all my jobs were taken out of desperation. Even now, the one I have, which took me several hundred miles from my home of forty years, was taken to get away from things. I am extremely jealous of people who have a job that they enjoy, or that they chose, or that brings them fulfillment, or a good profit. Don’t get me wrong, I am very thankful to God for getting me in a position where I can provide for my family. It’s just that… I would like to like it. I would like to have chosen it.
Which brings me to this Strange Confession: I have always loved working with younger people. It brings me such a sense of fulfillment and belonging and purpose that I cherish the time I have with them. When I left Salt Lake, the hardest for me was leaving the kids I worked with on Tuesday night at AWANA with my local church. Sure, I was going to miss my family and friends that I had, but those kids were really very special to me. I actually had adults think I was a teacher because of the way I could relate to them. This sparked things in my mind, but I never followed it up. So some people knew about my wife’s commitment to Christian education, and thought she may be available for a few hours during the week, and they put her name forward, and through a series of interviews she got the job. I have been a little upset with her lately, easily offended and the like, and never knew what it was until just a few days ago. I am jealous of the position she received. I pictured myself standing in front of kids, bringing thoughts of history, writing, math, doctrine and expanding their minds, revealing more of the world to them, caring for them, talking to them, answering questions. I realized that I was jealous. I want to be a teacher. But how? We aren’t in an area where I can get a degree, I don’t have the time or money or resources for this. All I see are walls.
But God doesn’t see any of that. I see no way , but God does. I believe God has given me this gift to relate to kids and this may be it! In some ways I am so discouraged because it is so late in coming and I just don’t see it happening, but God can do whatever He wants with me. And I give Him this. May I bear fruit in this area through Him, and give Him the glory when all is accomplished.