September 24, 2005

A Change of Season

Fall is here, announcing itself in the crisp evening air. BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) and Sunday school started two weeks ago. I’ve been in school now for three weeks. It has been years since I’ve helped with Sunday school, but now I’m co-teaching 1st and 2nd grade and leading the songs. I’ve always liked fall. By the end of the summer I was ready to get back to class. In college it was especially exciting because everyone had gone different places and done different things over the summer; there were lots of stories to catch up on. Starting new classes was always intriguing, too. I went to the bookstore and found all my books, then brought them home to browse and preview. The table of contents, chapter headings, charts, and pictures formed a landscape map of an unfamiliar, undiscovered country.

I can’t believe that Rita is hitting the same area as Katrina. It is very hard to understand all the suffering and destruction. We are telling the story of Noah and the Ark tomorrow to the children.  Some people are saying that this is God’s fault or that he is causing this to punish people for bad behavior. If that was the case, the punishment would not be limited to one area. The whole earth would be destroyed because there are all kinds of people doing all kinds of evil everywhere. No person is completely innocent. God does allow things to happen, though. Perhaps this is a sign of global warming and the damage we have done to the environment.  Who can say the reason why? Right now I don’t think it matters; people are in desperate need. Being unemployed, I haven’t been able to donate money. I have been considering what I can do. I can donate blood. I can give clothes. I can knit hats and scarves. I can give my time to an organization that is helping. I haven’t taken any action yet, but I will. I must.

We have a homework assignment over this weekend to list and analyze the “good experiences” we have had in our lives, from as early as we can remember. Anything we have done that did well, invested ourselves in, and were proud of the results. That has been an interesting and encouraging exercise. I was surprised as I looked over the list. I have never thought of myself as a particularly brave or risk-taking person. My Dad taught me to think carefully and be cautious, and I generally follow that example. I also have anxieties and fears in certain situations, as everyone does. As I looked over the list, I was surprised to see that I have done many things that were risky. Most of them were small risks, but they are not insignificant because they prepared me for larger ones. I never imagined as an insecure teenager that I would ever live or travel in a foreign country. I secretly dreamed of being an exchange student, but was too scared to even apply. But in college, I finally had enough confidence to apply for a summer volunteer program in Mexico. That whet my appetite and gave me my first experience teaching English, leading me to go to Korea almost immediately after graduation. Of course, being my father’s daughter, I researched the job market and working conditions for English teachers overseas before I decided what countries to focus on. Later when I finished my graduate degree, I took a risk in working with a friend of mine on a start-up educational organization. I worked in a low-paying human services job while I spent free time working on a pilot program. We ended up getting a grant and we did a bigger project and got paid some money for it. I still had to work the other job. In the end we didn’t get any further funding and it fizzled out. Needing a better job, I went back to Korea for my second “tour”.  I still felt successful because I was willing to take a risk and we did a good job on our projects. New and challenging things don’t always work out the way you want, but I landed on my feet. It was an exciting learning experience because I developed the whole curriculum from scratch.

I also remembered many physical activities that I really enjoyed and did well. Roller-skating, ice-skating, and bike riding, even dancing. I was not born to be a couch potato. I have the coordination and ability to enjoy healthy physical activity. I just stopped valuing it and developed an attitude. No, I have not been exercising for probably a couple of months. I want to start again, but I don’t quite want it enough yet. Mom has not been exercising, either. She is feeling it. I don’t feel it now, but I know I will eventually.

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