Monday, July 3, 2017

Trying on Careers

As a little girl I remember always thinking about what I wanted to be when I grew up. Maybe because my dad died young and I knew life could be short or change dramatically in a split second or maybe its was just a personality but I was always thinking about what I wanted to do when I grew up.

I remember some time in the third or fourth grade I had started ballet lesson. Shortly after I started knew I wanted to be ballerina when I grew up. I loved to float around with my toes pointed and dance!

Later on the ballerina idea faded and I got a teacher in the 5th grade whom I adored and I just knew I wanted to be a teacher! I kept every paper she gave me and tried to get extra copies of worksheets so I could save them for when I would be a teacher. I held on her every word and action so I could implement the same when I was a teacher. 

Later on I noticed how unruly boys are and how hard it might be to be a teacher. I started to feel that maybe it wasn't right for me. I entered high school still on the look out for what I would do when I grew up.

In my high school I found out there was a career center and I would go there often. When I wanted to be a psychologist the helpful lady in the career center would pull down books and materials and show me which schools were good and what classes I might take in high school to help me when I started college and what scholarships I might try for. She would explain everything so that I could visualize in my mind the road ahead. Then later when I wanted to be an archaeologist she would do the same, pulling down books and course catalogs and telling me the classes I would take and the schools and the things I would do. So much so that I could visualize the road to being an archaeologist and I would leave the career center so excited about my future.

It was in this way that I would often 'try on' careers. Thinking I wanted to go into a certain career and the nice lady would help me see it so clearly and I would 'wear it around', muse over the career and what it would mean for my future. The nice lady in the career center either didn't remember me or just kept quiet. Never remarking on how often I would change career choices or criticizing me for not sticking to something longer. She was just a faceless person whom I could count on to tell me answers to my questions. I wish I could remember her name and go back and thank her.

I don't remember how often I would "try on" a career. But at some point towards the end of my high school years I remember having a light bulb come on inside me. All my desires and interests and hopes and dreams sort of collided together in my head and I thought, "I want to be a mom when I grow up!" But talking to my mother she assured me that wasn't possible because everyone has to work. Stay at home moms were a bygone generation only viewed on the Happy Days TV show I used to watch with my step-dad.

So I went back to the drawing board. Taking into consideration my strengths and weaknesses, my desires and interests, hopes and dreams, I came to a conclusion. I am weak. People around me are weak and susceptible to bad influences that might bring me down. I need God in my life. Not just near but close by. I needed God a part of my life every single day. The only way I knew how to have a job and have God a part of my life every single day was to be a youth pastor. At the time, my church didn't have one and they were struggling. I saw a need that I could fill. So I went back to the career center and I asked about how to become a pastor.

Again the nice lady told me all about the different schools and since I was Lutheran I would need to find a Lutheran seminary. She told me about one in Irvine, California and what I would need to do to get to be a pastor. So I went away yet again so sure of myself that I had finally found the career for me. I started as in other times looking around for what I could do right then to be a pastor. Waiting to be an adult or waiting to be who I wanted to be never made any sense to me.

So as a future pastor I started looking around at different churches so that I might collect good ideas that I might implement when I became a pastor. When I became a pastor I would have groups for singles and groups for widows and groups for men and group for woman so everyone could feel connected and have their needs met. I would have music classes where people could learn to play piano and guitar so they could take the hymns home and praise God through song in their homes. If someone had something they wanted to learn, as a pastor I would find a way to help them learn it. I was excited to implement my new ideas. I just had to get through high school and start college!

Then one day in the middle of my senior year I met Denee. I was taking Government and Economics with Mrs. Buffington. The teacher announced she would be putting us in groups to work on something. Looking around I saw Denee and she was talking to someone and she was happy and bubbly. I thought to myself, "I hope Mrs. Buffington puts us in the same group." 

My desire was answered and I got put in the same group as Denee and we quickly became friends. She radiated a happiness I had never felt. It wasn't long before religion came up. She would tell me all about her church and I would tell her about mine. Then I would ask questions because her church seemed deeper and left me with a lot to think about. Next thing I know she told me that there were missionaries that I could meet with that could answer all my many questions.

On the surface I was worried for my friend. Would she go to heaven as a member of this new unusual church?  Knowing there were missionaries all over the world, were they leading the world astray?  I love my friend and I wanted to know she was going to go to heaven with me. Under the surface, I was a future pastor looking for ideas to implement into my church. I felt a moral obligation to find out what the missionaries were teaching and to find out for myself if they were leading the world astray or not. If they were indeed leading the world astray as a future pastor it was my duty to help stop it. 

So I started meeting with the missionaries. I remember as if it was in slow motion when the missionaries slid a Book of Mormon across the table to me. I felt it's power and I wasn't sure if it was good or bad. As I heard about Joseph Smith he sounded a lot like me, a good person trying to do what's right and confused about just how to do it.

As I went through the 6 discussions that the missionaries taught, I learned all about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I learned that they were indeed good people doing good things. I was asked to be baptized. I kindly explained that no I did not want to be baptized, I was just curious about the church. They kindly taught me all 6 lessons and I learned a lot.

Later I did eventually join the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It was partly through my quest for knowledge that led me to a closer relationship with God. Questions can turn into quests. 


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