Back in high school, I had the worst time choosing electives. It wasn't that any one thing scared me or turned me off; it was that everything called out to me. I wanted to play in the band while directing a school play, writing for the literary magazine, and running track. If I had time for art, shop class, cooking, baton twirling, and sports on top of all that, I would gladly take it on. I settled into a few things, but I ended up feeling like I never put my all into any one thing. I made decent grades, held a decent second chair in band (once I stopped switching instruments), had a few decent poems published, and had a few decent roles in the theater. I even won a decent third in my first track meet. I could have been valedictorian (not that those exist anymore). I could have earned straight superiors for my flute solo. I could have published a book by the age of 17. I could have stared in a play. I could have been the one to beat on the track. But I couldn't do it all at once, so I didn't do any of it. I chose instead to experience a little bit of all of those things and make my choices later.
Then life happens. Don't get me wrong, life happens all the time. Every day. Every minute. LIfe is happening. Yet, some moments really stand out and change you. At seventeen I found myself pregnant and essentially widowed. I wrote, but I didn't do anything with it. I graduated. No one gave that to me. I worked for it, but to me, it was just going through the motions. I continued living, but I stopped dreaming. Not completely, but enough. The path I was on when I lost my first love was the path I stayed on. It was safe. I would graduate high school, go to college, become a teacher. That was what we had discussed. There was not room for dreaming something else or exploring something else. Not when your heart ached and your dreaming had to be reserved for the small bundle crying, growing, toddling across a college apartment.
But not choosing to explore other options was still a choice. Even today, I don't know what I want to be when I grow up, but most people I know are lucky enough to be in the same boat. Is writing a pastime or a career? Which of those is teaching? Will it be a lifelong career or only the first of several I will get to explore? Life happens. Sometimes it happens in tragic ways and sometimes in miraculous ones. Sometimes it just happens in a series of little pushes. Whenever life happens, it molds us. It helps us choose our electives. The things that drive us.
My friend Terri wrote a blog recently about human trafficking. It moved me. Life is pushing her; God is pushing her, or rather calling her, to become an abolitionist in some way and work against this horrible atrocity. My dear friend Beth blogs for her son who is undergoing treatment for Hyper IGM Syndrome. Lucas is her miracle, and when they finally come home, I know she will continue to work to help others going through what their family is now.
I am back where I started in high school. There are so many causes that call out to me. There are so many organizations I believe are worthy. I just can't decide which elective to choose. So I'll do what I can, when I can, for as many as I can. One day, I'll figure it out.