I went to knitting/craft group tonight with the intentions of picking up my needles again after taking a break over Christmas and getting frustrated with it last week. I did pick up the needles, managed to recall casting on, knitted a few stitches and promptly got bored with it. I think I spent more time actually organising the yarn than I did knitting. I’m still struggling with the difference between knitting and purling and I keep sticking my needles through the yarn rather than underneath it.
I found myself on the way home feeling a bit down, envying Anna for her cross-stitching which was becoming a pretty poppy with leaves. I had about four stitches poorly done sitting on the needles. Or did I undo even that? My thoughts carried me away into a familiar introspective examination on my life and my habits.
When I was a child I wanted to be a writer. I wrote a book under the pen name Charlotte. I can’t remember what it was about but I’m sure it was pretty fantastic. I think I wrote a few books in the day. Then I went to school and was in a small class with a bunch of boys and I wanted to be a cop just like them. That didn’t last long. Then I found myself in high school wanting to own a vintage clothing store. Somewhere mid-year I decided that I’d go back to writing, only not creative writing and be a journalist. That went out the window when I cursed out my editor and walked out on the school paper because she postponed my body piercing piece (groundbreaking stuff in ’93). All this time I was heavily involved, if only personally, in campaigns issues, mostly those surrounding animal rights and my own rights which I felt had been infringed upon by the popular and glorified in our school. I’ve jumped in and out of justice matters from there, which eventually led to my passion for marine biology and the environment (that aided by my former disliking of people and preference for fish).
I thrived at marine biology. I truly for the first time in life, felt like I stood head and shoulders above the rest. I was recognised for my natural giftings and spongy retention of learning the topics. I enjoyed fighting for the rights of fish, marine mammals, and plankton everywhere (especially if it was tropical and I could live in a hut!). I planned on pushing through to a PhD so that I could have my own research and conservation team. I told my advisor this and he laughed at me and said that it was a waste of time (he had himself attained to a post-hole-digger status but I believe he thought it too high for women to seek after the same). Six years into studying the subject, working my ass off, having a job pretty much guaranteed to be created for me, I burned out. I loved the creative side of biology, loved seeing the evidence and glory of the Creator behind it all, but the science didn’t do it for me. And the political, beaurocratic BS of it really turned me off (that same advisor soon saw that I was quite capable of a PhD and when I started volunteering in his lab and field work he changed his tune, making me want to vomit on him).
Then I went into ministry. That’s definitely had it’s ups and downs. The one thing I know with absolute certainty in this life is that whatever I do is for the love of God and that love’s expression here on earth. Most days I find myself finally loving people- most days- and wanting God’s best for them. So that brings out the activist in me again. And much like the PhD seeker in me who wanted to have my own team, I like organising people and heading things up. I do like doing things, but as you can see from my track record, I get bored quickly and like to shuffle around a bit.
Thus my dilemma tonight. Do I have epic ADD? I would judge my inability to do one particular thing for longer than a few years without becoming unusually twitchy and unable to remain still and focused as something not normal. The reason I judge it so is because the world around me, our culture, defines me by what I do. When people ask, ‘what do you do?’ they aren’t asking for a description of what you find youself doing 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week. They are effectively asking ‘who are you?’ And because I can’t give a definite term to what I do, I can’t really seem to give a definite answer to who I am. At the core of me I know that I am creative, individual, experimental, rambling, organisational and most importantly, when all that fails and my mind goes loopy, I am a follower of Christ and I seek to live like He did loving God and others.
I was talking this all over with Rob tonight for the umpteenth time. He helped, as he usually does. He told me something very insightful. Some sports players have contracts to play pro football AND pro baseball. My mind, shaped by culture around me thinks, that’s not possible! you’ve got to do ONE sport and ONE sport only! Apparently that’s what some coaches advise the players of also. However, I thought about it and they’re the ones drafting these guys to play their respective sport, so they must be good enough for both- better than most. I find that settling. *thanks babe*
So here I am. Jack of all trades, master of a few (or possessing the ability to master a few but the indifference to commit my life to it), bored with some, recreating others. Is indifference bad in this regard? Or is just that I’m designed with a functionality that prefers to invent, create, abandon, destroy, build, hand over, etc.? It always reminds me of the tattoo I carved into my ankle in high school (don’t try this at home kiddos): The Wanderer (in Chinese… or so I thought… I probably ended up carving something more like The Chipmunk or just a symbol that ended up looking like a squashed spider). I still find my old way of wandering suits me. As long as I’m wandering in the right direction and making the world a better place, I’ll take it.