Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Reflecting on Then & Now

Today is the second day I've been home sick and I'm going stir crazy.  Though I don't feel like doing anything, I also hate just sitting around doing nothing.  Despite fairly constant nausea, and in between trips to the bathroom, I'm getting caught up on my Tivo watching.  I think faithful pup Scout is enjoying hanging out with me on the couch all day, though.  Dogs are the only ones that seem to enjoy a sick day.

A friend posted one of those simple little frivolous questionnaires on Facebook last night, so I jumped on it.  My friend, Michael, gave me the age I was to use (19).  It caused me to reflect on my life and where I was and what I was doing almost 25 years ago.  Here it is:

Age given - 19
Where I lived - Upper Marlboro, MD
What I drove - '85 Oldsmobile Cutlass (poor man's muscle car) 
What I did - student at University of Maryland; youth counselor at Galesville UM Church
Who had my heart- searching...always searching
My Fear - not being successful; not finding a companion

Age now - 43
Where I live - Laurel, MD
What I drive - '04 Jeep Liberty, '07 Mazda MX-5
What I do - Manager of a team of 75 employees
Who has my heart - My sweet, smart, beautiful daughter
Fear - being a single parent; managing a team of 75 employees

It's fun to look at where we were at a certain point in our lives and compare that to where we are now.  In particular, I found it interesting to consider what my fears were at the age of 19, and how things actually turned out in relation to those fears.  At 19, my biggest fear was whether I would be successful at whatever it was I would end up doing when I finished my studies at the University of Maryland.  In high school, I found my classes to be fairly easy, and I was an honor role student & graduated in the top 5% of my class.  After the car accident in Canada, things seemed to change (I'm fairly convinced this is because of my head injuries from the accident and from hitting my head on our ceiling several years earlier).  I no longer found my course work to be effortless, and discovered college to be pretty difficult.  It was harder to concentrate and my grades suffered as a result.  I changed my major a couple of times, from computer science to music to geology (finally settling on geography in my 3rd year).  At age 19, my confidence in my abilities took a major hit, and I sincerely worried about where my studies were taking me and what career path I might take.  Despite my worries (and I am a worrier by nature, unfortunately), I also turned to God and prayed constantly that He would guide me through this process.  He is so faithful, and I have yet to ever doubt Him, even when I'm inwardly worrying.

Fast-forward to age 43.  God is faithful.  I never could have imagined how successfully my career would progress, and all glory goes to Him.  My fears and worrying were for nothing.  Before graduating from college, I was able to get a job for the summer at a government office.  With my foot in the door, I was able to prove myself and I was offered a permanent position, and my career officially was off and running!  Now I'm responsible for 75 employees.  Unfortunately, since I am a worrier, I still find myself worrying about things that I know God will take care of, and managing a large group of people, knowing I'm responsible for so many people and their careers, is daunting.  However, again, I know that God is in control.  I pray everyday for my employees, and my prayers are that I will make good decisions that will benefit not only our organization from a business sense, but also for them.

My other fear at age 19 was about finding companionship.  I didn't do much dating throughout my high school years, and that made it difficult to think about dating in college.  I didn't have a lot of confidence in myself, and my introverted nature sure didn't help me.  I wasn't and still am not a "party-er", so I wasn't really in situations where I could meet people, and being a commuter student didn't help, either, since I wasn't on campus enough to be around female students in social settings.  I was my own worst enemy.  Though I continued to pray that God would lead me to my soul-mate, I also believe that God expects us to do our part and get out into the world in places where we might actually meet potential partners.  So I worried about it.  I was so dumb.  There probably wasn't another time in my life where I was in a better position to date and get to know someone of the opposite sex than at age 19.

Fast-forward again to age 43.  God did bring me my soul-mate, though it didn't happen until age 28.  It was a whirl-wind storybook romance blessed by and centered on God.  Teresa was awesome, and we really were a great match.  It was the happiest time of my life, and I am so blessed to have known her.  What I didn't know was that, six years after we met, four and half years after we married, and 5 months after she gave birth to our daughter, she would die of a massive heart attack at the age of 31.  Almost 9 years later, I'm still alone, a single parent of a beautiful little girl who has made being a parent much easier than expected and is such a blessing on me, but I'm still alone, nonetheless.  And that is what I fear at age 43.  I know God is in control, but I worry about being a single parent, whether I'm able to provide for all of my daughter's needs, hoping that I will find a companion that I can share my life with, but who will also be a mother-figure to my daughter.  This is not a position I would have ever predicted for myself, especially not at 19, and certainly not even now, 24 years later.  But, this is life.  This is where God has placed me.  I know he's in charge of my life.  All I can do is continue to put God number one in my life, and place myself in positions where I may get to meet companions and potential mates.

Thanks, Michael, for giving me the opportunity to walk through some interesting memories of an earlier time in my life.

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