“You are gifted … JUMP :)”

January 14, 2016 stephhwilliams 2 Comments

Yesterday, I was talking to a colleague about how she’s recently gone back to school; she’s working on her *second* master’s degree, this one in social work. So I admitted to her that I’m scheduled to take the GRE in a couple of weeks. With a look of what can only be described as pure astonishment, she asked “Why?! What are you doing?!” So, I told her: “I’m thinking of going back to get my Ph.D.” Now, I’ve been thinking about this for a long time (almost did it instead of law school), but only seriously (i.e. to the point of contacting schools, researching programs and registering for the GRE) in the past year. We talked for a little while longer about plans, and then I headed home. On the drive, I got to thinking about the look on her face. Was it that unbelievable that I’d want to go back to school? Perhaps because most people see the law degree as terminal, the idea of anything beyond is unreasonable. But it all depends on what you want to do, right? So I started thinking (really, really thinking) about why I wanted to go back to school. Why do I want that Ph.D.? Here’s what I thought about:

Well, for one thing, I’ve just always wanted it. But that doesn’t seem like a good enough reason to put myself or my family through the stress.

Okay, so pragmatically, it may really be necessary for a long-term goal. Bryan and I have talked about what we’d like to do later in life … and something that we always come back to is teaching at a university somewhere. I’ve been teaching as an adjunct at multiple secondary institutions for about 7 years now. During that time, I have applied for maybe 3-4 full-time positions to no avail. I don’t know this for absolute certain, but I think at least one reason why I haven’t been successful in obtaining a full-time professorship is because I *only* have a J.D. rather than a Ph.D. Academia may be the only place in the universe where that distinction matters.

But is going back to school just another way of “putting off” my writing? Well, of course it is. I think I have some sort of mental block when it comes to finishing my writing projects. It’s not writer’s block, so much as it’s just this huge boulder or mountain that looms before me whenever I think of the book I’ve been trying to write for most of my life. And that mountain is something I can’t get past or over. It’s too high, and, darnit, I can’t fly.

Nevertheless, I’ve always felt like I was meant to do something … I don’t know … more. Like I’m not doing what I’m supposed to be doing. Like I haven’t reached the people I’m supposed to reach. Like my voice hasn’t spread as it should.

But is that just human nature? I mean, does everyone feel like they’re supposed to do something more. Why do I feel that way? Am I just being egotistical?

Just then, as I’m thinking about all this on the drive home, Francesca Battistelli’s “He Knows My Name” came on K-LOVE. Here’s some of the lyrics:

I don’t need my name in lights
I’m famous in my Father’s eyes
Make no mistake
He knows my name
I’m not living for applause
I’m already so adored
It’s all His stage
He knows my name oh, oh


So, crap, yeah, I’m being egotistical.  But then, more lyrics …

I’m not meant to just stay quiet
I’m meant to be a lion
I’ll roar beyond a song
With every moment that I’ve got


Um, wait … there’s the voice thing again.

So, of course, I did what I do whenever I find myself overthinking something: I talked to Bryan about it. I walked him through all my thoughts from the drive home (he’s a very patient man, y’all). He agreed that going back to school because “I just want to” isn’t really good enough and that, though the long-term goal reasoning is valid, I am just trying to put off the writing. So we talked about taking some time to focus on my writing. He encouraged me to gather some stuff from my blog and put together some stuff for publication.

This morning, before work, he watched a video of Steve Harvey talking about when God gives you a gift (your parachute) you have to jump for it to open. Then, I found this on the doorstep:


When I texted him a thank you, he responded, “I think the Holy Spirit was talking to you yesterday.” Well, yeah, me too.

So here I am working on my writing, trying to stretch the inspiration from that little note into something productive. And I realized I haven’t posted anything on this blog since last April … ironically, just a few short months after posting a “new commitment” to my writing. Geez.  I’ve spent the last couple of hours going through old posts and picking up on themes. I’m writing – I’m happy – the kids are cracking me up – and God is good. I’m not writing – I don’t know what I’m doing – and I’m failing at life. (God is always good; it’s me that’s got issues). Oh, and there’s usually some Superman or Harry Potter stuff thrown in here and there, too. I jotted the following down (intended as a note to Bryan): “Good gosh. All I’ve really accomplished is feeling like a failure and missing MorganMorganMorgan something fierce. And on top of that Alan Rickman died today.” For some reason, that got me writing. And now, 900 words later, I don’t feel so much a failure as I do a work-in-progress (which, no surprise, is what my last not-so-recent post was about).

Yeah, I’m jumping.

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