Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A New Path

For some time now, I've promised to tell you the story of my answered prayer. Here it is, with a twist!

You see, for a long, long time I have either been a writer, been dreaming of being a writer, or been working towards being a writer--not necessarily in that order. As a child, I had the talent, and I knew it. My parents knew it. My teachers knew it. But it wasn't really a supported talent. Like many talents, unless you are very, very good, you can't pay your bills with the earnings you'll bring home. Not thinking I was very, very good, I moved on to other dreams.

Life happened, and I ended up in the computer field in 1986. By 1990, I was a computer operator for a government contractor (a computer operator is someone who monitors, interacts with, and supports big systems, usually mainframes or server farms). By the year 2000, I was working for a large international company as a manager of their U.S. customer service department. My talent with numbers, my instant recall memory banks, and my sheer determination got me there. I was sailing right along in that field until 2003 when the big layoffs came. Meanwhile, I had written one network engineering book and contributed to another. I figured I would ride that path for awhile.

Eventually, I landed a job as a technical writer, which is what I still do. I am fortunate enough to have a stable job with a good company, and I do contract projects on the side. I completed my degree in technical communications in 2007 and was accepted this year into the MFA/Creative Writing program at American University. I had every intention of going, even though it meant taking out more loans.

Then my health started going awry again, and tomorrow I will see the neurosurgeon yet again to have my Chiari malformation re-evaluated. Will it be time for surgery now? I don't know the answer to that, but I'm at the point of screaming, "Something's gotta give!" I am deferring my acceptance to AU until 2009 so that I can see where I am at that point.

But I don't think that's where God wants me. I prayed a lot about that acceptance letter and about the long commute it would mean from my house to downtown DC, about the late nights and trouble with juggling a full-time job and full-time school again, about the fatigue that has wrecked my life.

One day, some months ago, I came across a technical writing website/blog that had an interesting article I wanted to save for later. I bookmarked it. One evening after a fervent bout of prayer, I was perusing my bookmarks and came upon the article. When I got to page 2 and all the way to the bottom, a Google Ad caught my eye. Online MFA in Creative Writing.

Huh? I had searched for 2 years for such a program and had never found one. Well, there it was, at the University of British Columbia. For about half of what the same degree at AU would cost, I would be able to finish my MFA in about 2 years online from a really good school. I had lots of praise for God over that one!

But it seems He wasn't finished with me. I kept feeling that something just wasn't right.

My initial intention upon going back to college was to get a degree in Psychology. I changed my degree program after getting the technical writing job, so I could improve my skills for my new career. Yet I have still felt that pull towards counseling. In fact, I spent a lot of my time with the therapist I saw after Mom died going over my identity crisis. I explored all kinds of options with her as I went through being turned inside out by my own deconstruction. She (my therapist) loved my creative writing, and so she naturally encouraged it.

The thing is, I can hear God asking me, "Who can you help? Who can you serve?"

I was signed up to be a Hospice volunteer about 6 months after I lost Mom. I really wanted to help. What I didn't realize was how frail my own emotions still were. Between illness, car situations, and more illness, I had to decline the training when it was time. Now I'm feeling that pull again.

Turns out that the only college in the U.S. that offers a full MA program in Thanatology (the study of death and dying) is about 10 minutes from my house. How often have I thought about that program since meeting the Hospice volunteer coordinator who had graduated from that program? How often have I thought about the growing need we have in this society for support of the terminally ill, the grieving, and the lost?

You see, God hasn't taken away my free will. He showed me the two paths open to me, but now He's waiting for me to choose. "Who can you serve?" Answers to prayers are not so clear-cut. They are often anything but.

Peace - D

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Brief Pause

I've been quite busy these last couple of weeks, and I've neglected to post here. However, I have an interesting series of posts called "This Used to Be My Beach" going on over at my other blog: Poetic License. Please read those, if you have time.

By the time this weekend rolls around, I should be back to regular postings here.

Peace - D

Saturday, August 2, 2008

God knows exactly what He's doing

He is working in my life right now to a great degree. There are so many things happening, so many changes, that I can only credit Him.

I am also having a difficult time, though. Not everyone in my life is happy with the changes in me. I'm being challenged at every turn not to turn my back on God once more. It's difficult and painful, and sometimes I wonder why I've decided this is the right path for me, but I know that it is! I know that I am exactly where I'm supposed to be. God doesn't make mistakes, no matter how many times I felt that I was a mistake, that my birth was a mistake. He doesn't make mistakes.

Sometimes I wonder why God is so interested in me. Why does He want me back? And then I wonder if it isn't my mother working to intercede on my behalf; like a Catholic saint, she may be praying intercessions for me. I hope so, because then there may be a chance for things to be alright in my world.

I hope so.

D