30 While 30: Day 145 – In the most unexpected of places ….

10:15PM, CST

A post at an odd time.  Many of you won’t even see this until the morning.  That’s ok.  This is a bit of a weird post.

That’s ok too.

You see, this was not the post I planned to make.  That one is saved for another day.

You know what else wasn’t planned?

That one of my most popular blog posts was about a little yellow bear, a bit out of his element.

The fact is, that little yellow bear has gotten me more traffic than any other single post on my blog.

Odd, isn’t it?  Also a bit unexpected.

The best things in life are unexpected – because there were no expectations.” – Eli Khamarov

What else is unexpected?

Well, today, of all days, of all times of my wife’s recent encouragement, I picked up my guitar today and played.  Not just played, but played ALOT. … and she isn’t even here, instead is out of town with the boys for a thirty-one party.

Unexpected.

Unexpected is defined as when you hide all the pacifiers from your two year old (when he really only uses one for sleep) and on his second day without one, he waddles downstairs in the morning with nothing else than a paci in his mouth.  Where did that come from?

Unexpected.

Unexpected is putting in your old 4-track CD that you made (in part) for an ex-girlfriend, and iTunes attempts to name the songs … then, somehow … it does … only the titles and composer (not me, by the way, according to iTunes) are in Spanish.  Um …. yeah.

Unexpected.

Unexpected is sometimes is waking up at 30 … or 15 … or 65 … and wondering how you got there and how you might just not be the person you imagined yourself to be all those years earlier.  It is the definition of mid-life crisis.  “Am I today who I thought yesterday I would be today?” … Confusing, I know.  Life can be that way.  Y’know, let me take off some of the burden for you.  Let me share with you who I was going to be at different ages.

Age 8 – In the third grade, we completed these little “life-books” about our interests and what we wanted to be when we grew up.  Me? (and I quote) “I want to be in the Army … and married”.  You must understand that when I was in the third grade, we were going through the first gulf war, patriotism was running high, and being in a military infused community (though my parents were not active duty), made it all more red, white, and blue.  Pictured on the cover, by the way, was an old Game Boy.  Not these new fancy ones … one of the old black and white ones.  Epic.

Age 17 – I was a smart guy.  I mean, in high school, I really didn’t take a book home … ever.  Well, maybe to study for finals.  School just came naturally to me.  I was ranked academically 4th in my graduating class.  Because I was naturally gifted in Math and Science, my Guidance counselor recommended that I go to Tennessee Technological University.  I was going to be an engineer.

Age 18 (6 months into my freshman year at college) – I get a D in Calculus.  Actually, I was sure I had an F.  I knew enough about math to at least do that.  I remember writing my Calculus professor a letter, pleading with him to give me a D, and with a promise to retake the class, seeing as if I made an F, my GPA would fall low enough for me to lose my scholarship paying for my room and board.  An F would have flunked a really smart guy right out of college in his first semester.  I slipped the note under his door after for sure, failing his final exam.  My professor surely showed me grace.  That next semester, I would take a Sociology class.

Age 19 – I would profess in front of my home congregation my desire to go into “full time” ministry.  I was going to be a pastor.  By now, I am leading worship at the Wesley Foundation, and am president of the same organization.  That year, I would fly to a conference in Dallas Texas for up and coming students with the “call to ministry”.  At 19 I was serious about marrying a girl attending school 4 hours from me.

Age 20 – I would apply to Southwestern Theological University … and be accepted.  I would travel with my then girlfriend (who was a keeper, and ended up being my wife) and actually visit the campus in Dallas.  That same year, I would turn down that acceptance.  That year, I would come to a crisis of thought.  I would beat myself up, thinking I was “going back on God” that I was “lying to myself”.  The decision was made, that the path to pastoral care was not where my talents would be best be used.  I would take a job at 21 with the Department of Children’s Services.  This is where my path would begin as a life of caring for the “least of these”.

Age 21 – I would apply to graduate school for counseling.  I would begin a job (at Youth Villages) that for the next three years would do two things: 1) Teach me more things in that short time than I have learned since about counseling, managing people, marketing, clinical supervision, and agency politics and 2) What my limits as an employee, a husband … and within that time, a father, were.  At age 24, I would be one of the youngest (maybe the actual youngest) person within the company to be a Regional Supervisor, being responsible for the implementation of our program over a 15 county area, supervising between 9-12 therapists and 2-3 clinical supervisors in my time.  But that job was not for me.

Unexpected.

Unexpected that today, I am a licensed professional counselor, working with children and families of active duty Army Service Members, that I continue to aspire to work and help those whose only church they might visit is my office (which doesn’t have a steeple, by the way), that I am married to an amazing woman and have the most amazing two boys.

Not to be too cryptic ….

but how unexpected is it that where I am “supposed to be” is right where I am right now?

This week, I encourage all of you, take joy in today.

Yesterday brought you to today, and tomorrow will be cast forward out of it.  What you do in the middle makes all the difference.

And sometimes you don’t know what that difference will be until many, many todays later.

 

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