Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Plans for the Future

DISCLAIMER: Since this post contains a fair amount of information about my life (no matter how modified and just plain screwed up that that information might be) and since the vast majority of you don’t care about my life, I promise that there will be a fairly good moral at the end that I hope you take to heart.

           “What are you doing to do when you grow up?”
            Whenever I hear this question, I laugh to myself especially since it is usually directed at children. I mean, come on, a lot of people in college don’t even know what they are going to do much less these small children. The reason that I say this is because I’ve been asked this question many times in the past. In most of these instances I said that I didn’t know and people looked at me like I was the weird one (How can you possibly not know what you’re going to do with your life?) Finally I figured out what I wanted to do when I grew up and had an answer to people when they asked one of the stupidest questions in the world. And then God entered the picture.
            This is not to say that I wasn’t saved before this or that I hadn’t been praying. Rather I was praying about what God wanted me to do and I thought that I had received an answer: I was wrong. Somewhere around tenth grade I decided that I wanted to be an architect. Who wouldn’t want to go through hell in college so that they could design buildings and paid very little when they got a job? Seemed like a no brainer to me. But while I thought that I had life figured out, God was up in heaven shaking His head as He hit my plans a few times with his heavenly hammer.
            About a year after deciding that I wanted to be an architect, God’s squishing of my plans finally reached me when I realized something: I’m too left brained to be an architect! I have my fair share of imagination, but I’m much more comfortable with numbers and math than I am with creativity and such. So I decided that I would do structural engineering instead. It was also around this time that I decided that I wanted to serve in the military and my preferred branch was the Marines. Also, I thought to myself, what better way is there to join the Marines than by going to the Naval Academy and getting a commission there? So that became my plan. Once again, God was up in heaven wondering why I was such an idiot and letting Michael practice his angel martial arts out on my life’s plan.
            My 11th grade year I applied to the Naval Academy. I even attended one of their summer seminars to get a feel for academy life and had a chance to realize that I didn’t need to go to college there. Alas! I was too stupid to learn the lesson that God had for me and finished applying to Naval Academy. Everyone that I talked to said that they thought that I would have a good chance of getting in. My grades and ACT scores were good, I had good references, a good interview, and received recommendations from both my Senators as well as my Congressman (you only need one of these recommendations to qualify for an appointment). Despite my impressive application packet, during my 12th grade year, I was informed by letter that I had not been accepted into the Naval Academy.
            Due to my failure to get accepted to the Naval Academy, I was forced to go to a different college. So, had I learned the lesson that God wanted me to learn? I’ll give you a hint: if I had, this post would be shorter than it is now. I was accepted to college and entered with a declaration of civil engineer. At the same time, I began to look into entering the Marines ROTC program on campus. I can only guess that by this time God was wondering how I could be such a complete moron as he took my plans and smashed them with a sledgehammer. I took a Marine class, and this time, rather than just closing a door as He has done in the past, God tried a different tactic. The Marine class was going just fine all semester long. I learn ranks, when to salute, about uniforms, and a ton of other stuff, and I was still convinced that God wanted me to join the Marines. That is, until about two and three days before classes ended. The teacher from our class had been inviting people from different careers in the navy to come speak to the class. Finally it was time for the Marine to lecture.
            As I said before, God didn’t close the door this time. I could have entered the Marines ROTC program the next semester and yet I didn’t. Why not? Because of what the Marine said. God used an actual Marine to show me what I was getting myself into which was actually quite different than what I had thought that I was getting into. Let me preface my next statement by saying that several people over the past year or two had told me that I was too smart to join the Marines but I had just dismissed those statements. It was during this lecture that it hit me: The Marines are too stupid for me! God was probably up in heaven nodding His head as He put His baseball bat away.
            So, do I have my life figured out now? Heck no! I still think that I’m supposed to serve in the military so right now I am seriously considering Air Force ROTC. I also believe that I’m supposed to go into civil engineering which is what I am doing. I suppose it is possible that I finally am going down the right path, but it’s equally possible that God is backing out His steamroller for yet another lesson.
            This is why I laugh when people ask kids what they’re going to be when they grow up. I don’t know and I’m already almost through my first year of college, and unless those kids are extraordinarily luck, they don’t know what they’re going to do either. So try to refrain from asking kids what they’re going to do with their lives. All that it does is put undue pressure on them to make a decision that they don’t have enough information to make. Oh, and one other thing; never tell a child that they can be whatever they want to be. I used to want to be a Marine, but now I don’t think that I would be a very good one. Instead, tell kids that they can do whatever God wants them to do. After all, that’s the only way that they’ll have a happy life.

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