Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Reality check

Yesterday a postcard came in the mail from the school district where I graduated high school. On it was a toll-free number and a request to call and update my information for an upcoming alumni publication. Well, why not, I thought.

I called this afternoon and spoke with a nice woman who got all my info sorted and straightened out. The first thing to change was my name. No, I don't go by 'Jean Herker' anymore. Then she verified my profession. Again, 'student of civil engineering' wasn't accurate.

So, what is my current profession? the nice woman asked. And I paused, not sure exactly how to tell her what I do. Should I use some fancy-shmancy title, like 'domestic engineer'? Or maybe S.A.H.M., like I use on medical charts, when I have a one-inch line to describe my job. Maybe I should focus on the creative, artistic side of my job and say 'hobbyist' or 'chef.'

But, after just a moment, I knew I should be honest with her, and with myself. "Well, I'm a homemaker," I said. "Wow, and that's one of the hardest jobs out there!" the nice woman answered. Then she said there was a spot to list all of my family members, so I named my husband and four children. The nice woman said "Boy, you do work hard, don't you?"

After the phone call had ended, I thought about the conversation for a while longer. Did she really say it had been eighteen years since I graduated high school? I still remember that hot summer afternoon in my school gymnasium, sweating in my dress and white nylon gown over it, white hat pinned to my hair, my fellow orchestra members in the upper deck playing 'Pomp and Circumstance' for all they're worth.

I was so happy I'd made it that far. I had actually completed 12 years of public education. Wow! I had been accepted to a high level university and hoped to enter the engineering program within the next year or so. I planned to have a very successful career doing something engineering-like, because I had enjoyed my math classes so much. And if that didn't work out, maybe I'd go to law school and work as a children's advocate in the family court system.

Isn't it amazing how God's designs and plans come in and lead you in a completely different direction? I never did get accepted into an engineering program. I did like math, but I did not like physics, and apparently you have to be good in both for engineering programs. Six years after graduation, I ended up with an Associates degree in Science, with an emphasis in English Literature, from a school I had never heard of when I graduated high school.

As for the high and mighty career, that flew out the window with a mighty whoosh the day I met my future husband. He was determined to have a wife that stayed home with the kids. And after many, many months of pondering, wondering, and talking to God about all of it, I realized this was the best plan for me. I wanted a family with this wonderful man more than a career, and I knew being home with my children was of far more importance than a full time job.

So here I am, eighteen years after that young girl walked across the stage in her white cap and gown. Of course, if someone had told me that day what I would be doing today, I would have said they were crazy. But God knew. Isn't it nice how he leads us step by step into the right paths He has planned for us? Sometimes He has to stop us in our tracks and redirect us, but most of the time it's a little change here, little change there, until we are where He wants us to be.

Am I happy where I am? Yes. I'm am pursuing a challenging career full of glory and honor. But it's not worldly glory and honor for me. It's spiritual glory and honor for my Savior.

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