Friday, August 03, 2007

From rags to riches

It's another Elvis song, but I don't think it applies to my life yet. Or does it?

So far this morning, it‘s quiet here. Rachel's not driving yet - we go next week to retake the test. Oh well. Derek spent the night with his cousin at his Me-Maw's house.

I talked with someone at Job X on Wednesday. I learned that while I am not OUT of the running yet, I am not IN the job for certain either. They have interviewed 3 soon-to-be-graduates of the nuc med program there. I figure I have a 25% chance, & it all boils down to experience vs. cheaper, fresh-out-of-school help. I should know within a week, probably. Maybe even today.

We’re so tight financially that not getting the job would be a blow. I’m past the self-pity about that, & though I’m still angry with myself for it, I know that‘s not productive. I still struggle with God’s will on this. I would think God would want me to have this better opportunity for my family and me. If He doesn't, I know He still loves me. I know His way is best, even if I can’t see it. But I won’t lie. It is still hard to accept.

My thinking is: these graduating techs are probably young, they can go anywhere there are openings. I am established here in Tennessee - my family's here, I'm married to someone with a job & family here - & I can't just uproot & go to Iowa or Vermont or wherever the demand for nuc med techs is high. So why can't I get "Job X" & let those new grads get those other jobs that might even pay more than this one?

That's not for me to decide. All I can do is wait upon the Lord & renew my strength. If I have to stay in my current job, that’s what I have to do. Some things about it still make me angry, though there are good things about it too.

Totally changing directions here…

Yesterday we also went to the library. I checked out several books. One: "All the King's Men" by Robert Penn Warren. I have mentioned him before - he grew up just 20 or so miles up the road in Guthrie. It‘s inspiring to think a “real writer“ could come from this area - maybe there‘s hope for me yet. I also got books by two of my favorite authors: Jan Karon's "A Mitford Bedside Companion," sort of the cream of the Mitford crop along with her personal notes about how the characters developed, etc., & a collection of Laura Ingalls Wilder's early writings, "Little House in the Ozarks."

Oh! How I needed those inspiring words. In Jan Karon's book, I read this passage from Jeremiah 29 out of the New Living Translation:
"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good
and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you
pray, I will listen. If you look for me in earnest, you will find me when you
seek me."

Three weeks ago, on my day off, I sat on the riverbank in Clarksville & considered all the craziness going on in my job. That was the day I decided to apply for Job X, among others, but before that, I decided it's time to start writing down the stories in my head.

I have a cast of thousands, I think. I created some of these characters in the 1970's, & have added more over the years along with more stories as my life has changed. When Rachel was a baby, & I worked 40 hours a week, I thought I’d never have time to write. I also thought I was a long way from old age, so I’d have plenty of time to write later. During my part-time years, I wanted to get published, so it would be "worth the effort" financially. I figured once I got established as a writer, I could start fiction writing. But I never made a lot of money at it (though I have been published), so I focused on getting more "real work" as a nuc med tech.

Now anyone who can blog can be a writer. Now, too, my kids are independent enough that they don't need me to entertain or take care of them every waking hour. But maybe most critical, I am getting no younger. In a family where cancer starts in the 40's & some die in their 50's & 60's & still some make it in fair health to 85, there's no guarantee. I might die tomorrow, & I might live to be 100, but one thing is certain: when I die, if I haven't recorded my stories, I will have spent decades with these people whom no one else will ever know. Seems like a waste of brain space, to me.

Laura Ingalls Wilder was, best I can tell by the dates on these published articles, about 44 when she started writing for periodicals. She did some writing before that, but I don't know how much of it got published. She began the "Little House" series at the age of 65. Those books are classics now, read by schoolchildren & adults alike for close to 75 years. Wonder what she would think if she knew there had been a long-running TV show based on her life & books?

Her magazine writings were inspirational & informative. She discussed raising chickens & the profitability of running a small farm. I needed the reminders that "thinking makes it so." I needed to read about the joy of a job well-done & being thankful for simple pleasures. When I think about what I really want from life, that's it. My grandparents seemed happy when
I was a kid. They worked, but enjoyed the relationships they had with their co-workers. After work they came home to the garden & ate the fruits (& vegetables!) of their labor. They made plenty of time to spend with their friends & family. We had huge holiday celebrations. I mean, there’d be a hundred people in that little house. (All smoking! I don’t miss that!)

Granny died at 62 - awfully young, but her brother reminded me at the funeral home that she wasn't expected to survive to adulthood because she had a stroke at the age of 6. Maybe because she was "on borrowed time," she lived her life to the fullest. We could all do well to learn from her example. She didn’t feel bad about herself because she lived in a two-bedroom, 1.5 bath house. She was thankful to have indoor plumbing, because she’d lived without it & her
neighbor still didn’t have it. Her house was a home. And though she’s been gone almost 15 years, it’s still the home she made.

I want to enjoy the moments like this one. Though it is hot, hot, hot & dry outside, it is cool
in here where the A/C's running & the curtains are pulled to keep the bright afternoon & evening sun from heating up the living room. I'm doing something I love - reading & writing. Later I'll have to do some driving (to the funeral home in Springfield - a neighbor & lady from church passed after a long illness - & to the middle school for parent night), but for now I'm
hanging out in my comfy clothes. There IS a lot to be thankful for.

Maybe, just maybe, in the rags, we find the riches.

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