A Guy Named Bloke presented eight thought provoking questions that I could not resist.
What is one life lesson that you have had to learn the hard way?
That when you hear God screaming, “No,” in your ears, and you decide that you know better than God, then you will suffer the consequences that God tried to prevent. The good news is that He will still walk beside you and comfort you through the suffering, and eventually a change will come.
What can you do today that you were not capable of a year ago?
Writing a fictional story from a photo prompt. I love the challenge of them, for they give me another way to inspire and encourage people.
What is the difference between living and existing?
Living is intentional, meaning we don’t just sit around and wait to see what’s next, heartache or joy! We make things happen in our lives, to the extent that we have power and control to do so. Existing is a take-whatever-comes-my-way life that leaves us angry at whomever we believe is making the decisions. We blame others when we miss out on our dreams and desires, taking no responsibility for ourselves.
For example, when my job was outsourced eventually to India after 23 years, I chose living, not just existing to see what would come next. I took early retirement at age 46, went to college full-time, and became what I had dreamed of since I was in the fourth grade: a university professor. Sometimes you got to step out in faith and take risks. That’s living.
If the average human lifespan was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?
Well, I am quite a few years past 40, so the question doesn’t quite fit. But, as a sociologist, I find that culture adjusts according to life expectancy, so that all the needs of the people are met before many of them die. Life achievements, like marriage, parenting, and education simply would be completed at earlier ages.
Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?
For me, it is more important to do the right things, to be as honorable and compassionate and merciful and lacking in judgment about others as I can be. For example, doing things right might require me to fail a student who cheats on a test, but I want to ask that student first what was going on in their lives. If I see that the intent was not malicious, just trying to get away with something, I will let them redo the assignment, because I know the frailty of being human, being imperfect myself.
What impact do you want to leave on the world?
I want to leave some lives better for having known me, through my teaching, preaching, or writing. I want to not have just taken from the world, such as knowledge, joy, or money, and not have given some of it to other people, particularly to people who are not seen as deserving by others. I was one of those people once. I hope there will be people who are happier and feel valued after meeting me.
To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?
A great question. I think that we have more control than we think over our lives, even deciding whether to believe and trust in God. Jesus knocks on the door of our hearts, and we either answer or don’t answer, but thankfully, He doesn’t kick the door in.
I have made decisions sometimes that have caused me great pain and suffering, but also decisions that took my life and the lives of my children to a higher place. While I realize that I had no control over who my parents were, when I was born, the poverty of my childhood, contracting colon cancer, and the deaths of loved ones, I also know that life is full of decisions that we have some control over, and whether we live good often comes down to being willing to go against the grain, praying to God for guidance and stepping out in faith that He is the God who sees and hears.
Beyond the titles that others have given you, who are you?
To me, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother are not titles, they are special gifts, drenched in giving and receiving love. They are who I am!. I am a survivor, a dreamer, a traveler, a woman who gives loves and accepts love. I am a student of life, still, loving to learn new things and experience new places and people. I look for opportunities to laugh. I love people, even as I fear their rejection and abandonment. I am someone who is thankful for all God has given me, including a wonderful husband, colors, flowers, changing seasons, birds, words, and a Savior who loves me.