So, I’m going back to school. Finally going to finish up that degree that was put on hold 24 years ago when the kids started coming.
I have mixed feelings about this – excitement, certainly, because I love school. No, but really. I love taking classes. Like, probably too much. I’m the one sitting in the front row with two different colors of pen and a stack of post-it tabs.
On the other hand, I’m a little chagrined. I’m keeping it on the down low. Because I’ve been the local English Teacher in my homeschooling community and I’m pretty sure everyone assumed I had at least a BA in English if not an MA. I never told anyone that, mind you. I said things like, “I was an English Major.” But I never said I had a degree.
But they assume. Which is weird, come to think of it, since we’re all homeschoolers and therefore by definition not program-followers.
But I digress.
So I’m going through the process of filling out scholarship applications. They ask all kinds of questions, such as, “Are you a refugee?” or “Is one of your parents blind or deaf?” or “Are you a survivor of an anthrax attack?” And I start to feel like maybe life has been way too easy for me and I have no business filling out this application.
And then I move on to “Which community service projects have you been involved in?” And I scan down the list going nope, nope, nope and wonder how it is that I have made it to this stage of adulthood without ever once running a soup kitchen or tutoring underprivileged children or volunteering at an animal shelter.
I mean, I feel like I do things for others all the time. I feel like I’m a giving person. But then I get to the application, and take a good hard look at all those hours and start to wonder how many of those were truly altruistic and how many were simply a result of me joining a program someone else ran because all my friends were doing it, or because my kids were involved, or because it was something I enjoyed.
Even my missionary days were short-term and centered around street drama and music There’s no box to check on the application for “Slept on a school bus for three days so I could perform in a park in Edmonton, Alberta.”
So yes, maybe I’m being too hard on myself, and maybe the problem is that the scholarship committees don’t consider volunteering in order to spread the gospel a valid form of community service.
But it made me stop and go “Hmm.” How much of my busy-ness over the past 24 years, if I’m brutally honest, has been me-centered? How much has been an excuse to sing and play an instrument? How much has been a reason to escape the grind of motherhood for a few hours?
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s fine. But having to look back and take stock is making me question whether I couldn’t have tried a little harder to step out of my comfort zone. To step out from behind the microphone, to get down off the stage and, I don’t know, actually talk to people and look them in the eyes and sacrifice a little to meet some of their needs.
Wally over at “Truth In Palmyra” posted something this week that brought this thought up again. He said, “Are we pretending righteousness, or do we have the true, eternal righteousness of Jesus in us?”
It made me wonder if much of my Christianity has been flying under the radar and doing things just because it’s my habit or my lifestyle or, heaven forbid, makes me look good.
So while I’m not beating myself up over this, I am going, “Hmmm.” It is making me wonder which boundaries I can stretch in the future. Which comfort zones I can exit.
It may be too late to do some scholarship-board-approved community service, but maybe I could ask the Holy Spirit to show me something He is doing that I could get on board with if I just break my routine a little.
The good news is that there are no boxes to check and no scholarships necessary to get into heaven. I already have a full-ride ticket there and let me assure you, it’s not a merit-based one.
The other good news though is that He has amazing things already mapped out for all of us to do before we get there. I would hate to think that I’m missing something prepared for me by God because I didn’t want to feel momentarily uncomfortable.
Because I hate missing out!