Sunday, January 10, 2016
Legos, Career Options and Lying Children
I would like to think I was not a bald-faced liar at the tender age of 11, but I recently came across something which bears discussion. While looking through my scrapbook, I found an essay I wrote for a sixth grade assignment stating I wanted to be a welder when I finished school; just like my Dad.
Maybe I was pandering in my bid to be #1 son, but I’d like to believe I was not so conniving. The Dad has accused me of renouncing my heritage but there are things I like which are “his” things. I really do enjoy listening to country music, from the 60s through the 80s only. I requested to dress as Buck Owens on Halloween in third grade. I already had the Hee-Haw overalls was it such a giant leap to imitating Mr. Owens? I would never have been Roy Clark; he had weird hair and The Dad was a vociferous critic of everything Roy except his musicianship.
It could very well have been I was unfamiliar with other occupations. I was aware there were career options based on my extended family: carpenter, farmer, and welder. Lawyers, Doctors and the somewhat vague “Businessman” (like the fathers on TV), were careers I didn’t feel were available to me as they were “not us” and something you did if you lived “in town”. I assumed my future was for me to continue the family tradition. What that tradition was I was uncertain and most assuredly not inclined to inquire.
As an aficionado of Legos I was adept at designing the most intricate of homes, to include porte cocheres and dormers, and for several years had imagined being an architect, once I found out those were the people who designed houses. I don’t remember if I believed I could be one, however. Playing in your room and making a living doing something were concepts I hadn’t yet reconciled.
When I was specifically asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” my most emphatic answer was always, “Indoors.” I was tired of sweating the in Louisiana heat (later Oklahoma heat, then Texas heat and finally Mississippi heat. Is it any wonder why my first job outside the south was in Alaska?). I just wanted to work inside with the “bought air” which is how The Dad describes air conditioning. How I would get indoors and what I would do to stay there, I was uncertain. I simply knew if I were committed enough to chance a belt-whipping to hide in the front hall of my Aunt Penny’s house enjoying even a limited amount of AC, I’d definitely attend whatever school was necessary for whatever length of time was required to remain bereft of excess body moisture. No one can pull off cute while perspiring, much less someone who was having enough trouble pulling off cute in Husky-sized Tuffskins.
I have no way to explain my career path other than God wanted me to work in healthcare. He has allowed me to excel in my chosen field and now I am a healthcare executive, which is something I still don’t necessarily believe even though I’ve been in this position almost a year. I find so much fulfillment helping Veterans every day and I thoroughly love what I do.
I have to assume if I did harbor inclinations of actually becoming a welder, they were sweated out of my system by the time I started high school. And the blue collar options winnowed themselves naturally after my lack of interest/aptitude with animal husbandry at home and Woodshop at school. I went to college as it’s what I believed smart young men did to escape the boonies. I was unaware of the field of federal healthcare as a possible profession. I originally applied for my student position as a source of income while finishing my Master’s degree. In Education Administration, mind you.
I sometimes wonder if I would have had a different journey or career if I had only prayed about college before I went. If I had prayed about my major, the school I was choosing, or my career path? I know God has plans and I know He knows the mistakes we’re going to make and I think He allows us to take our sometimes convoluted routes to the eventual place we’re supposed to be. I don’t know if I was destined to work in healthcare or whether God placed me where I could have the most impact, when I finally stopped running in ridiculous circles and actually listened.
If God can make a success out of a stubborn, sweaty, lying 11 year-old, He can make a success out of you. All I know is when I listen to Him, I’m good to go. Since he invented ideas, I know he has plenty and I can assure you they are better than all of ours, combined. Just ask Him to tell you His plans and see what He says. You may be surprised. You'll definitely be scared. You will ultimately be happy.
Since I am apparently having church all up and through here, I guess it’s time I closed and let y’all get to the buffet. Can I get an Amen?