Friday, September 14, 2012

My Gray Colorful Life

Life just seems to work for some people.

In saying that, I don't mean that my life doesn't work. Obviously I've had a tremendously blessed one compared to the vast majority of people throughout time and space. But there are some discrepancies that make me stop and think sometimes.

I have a few friends and relatives––by no means all of them, but a fair group––who I've always felt see life in a very black and white way, and have lived lives to back their views up.

They're talented in the same areas that  they have interest in, and are able to turn those interests into occupations. They have plans that work. They're attracted to people who are attracted to them, and generally mary their high-school sweethearts and all that. And while I'm not saying they don't struggle, they generally see less of a discrepancy between what they believe about God, life and the world and their own experience of those things.

I'm not jealous of those people (in fact I'm usually very, very happy for them) but when I look from them to my own life, it gives me pause sometimes. 

When I was a little kid, the only thing I was really interested in was science. I loved reading about the world––or rather having my Mom read about it to me because I'm dyslexic and couldn't read till I was about 13. And so I wanted to be a scientist. Preferably an environmental biologist. 

Then I got to high-school, and right about the time I finally learned to read, I discovered I had huge problems with higher math––to the point that I couldn't even pass high-school chemistry. So there went the scientist thing. 

When I went to college (after half a year of indecision and fear) I decided to major in anthropology as the next best thing. It was basically science, it involved research, but it didn't require chemistry, or calculus, or anything other than the remedial algebra class that I had to have hours of tutoring to get through. A couple years into that though and I realized the only practical application for it after school was more school, and then eventually becoming a college professor, which I had no interest in doing. 

At that point, I pretty much said screw-it to whatever I was interested in, transfered schools and changed my major to communications. I guess I'm still trying to figure out if I can actually do anything with that. 

On a different but related front, the only girl I liked all through my teens had no interest in me, and even if she did, we were completely incompatible in many, many ways.

In college, the only girl I ever tried to date pretty much rejected me (okay, it was more complicated than rejected but in the end I would have probably preferred that to what happened). 

I could give more examples, but the reason I'm writing this isn't to complain that I've somehow had a depressing life of failure, but that I feel like it's been a very convoluted life. 

The things I've been successful at have generally been seemingly random things that I wasn't even planning on succeeding at. Sometimes to the point that it seems absurd. "I hiked the Lebanon Mountain Trail and produced an award winning documentary about it.... Wait, I did what?"

Likewise, I've had many people, from English professors to journalists tell me I'm a good writer (something you can easily and unequivocally discount by reading this blog). But I can't remember ever wanting to write... anything really. 

Why is it that things I want to do are almost always things that I can't do, and vice-versa? Why is it not that way for some people? Why is it only black and white for them?

Occasionally I think it's better this way. Sometimes I even like to flatter myself and think that I have a more colorful life. But other times I wonder if it's just more gray. 


Kelly said...

Interesting post, Andrew.

The thing is, I don't think anyone ever really has it together. I bet the people that you're talking about might say the same thing!

Besides, I like that your successes have been spontaneous. Sometimes you just can't plan for things.

I like reading your blog :)

Mrs.P said...

Wow - I think we are on the same wavelength today. I just got back from a Puddleglum session with God, Who I'm sure just was shaking His merciful head at me's so easy to get discouraged when comparing ourselves to others...and oh, so dangerous! I've been put out to pasture for 10 years now and I wonder when God will deem me ready to use again. One of the most encouraging stories I've ever read was an old, old antique version of GW's boyhood. It was aMAZing to see the hand of God on what he could do and what he couldn't do - and how God used it all to lead him - one step at a time- into the future of being the first President! Just an ordinary kid whose spelling was atrocious, who hated writing, but was amazingly gifted - and providentially enabled- to be a surveyor...which led to scouting...which led to military prowess...which led to the presidency. Which, if I recollect correctly, he really didn't want. But it was a call and so God fulfilled it. You, too have a call - and you're somewhere in the woods scouting in this season. I see LOTS of gifting in you - esp. in the way you think. And I've had that impression since you were in high school, sharing at YSOS meetings. I'd think, "Wow - he has a great mind!" God-given. Wonder where you'll end up? One thing I know - if you stay the course with God, you'll wind up exactly doing the works he planned in advance for you to do!

Andrew said...

Thanks Kelly, I'm sure that's probably true, and I'm glad you enjoyed reading.

And Carin, thanks so much. It's really encouraging to hear that today.