Making life changing decisions requires research, good counsel, common sense and the ability to remain faithful to the task. Ignoring foolish or imaginary distractions can help us achieve what we set out to do.
There is an age old proverb from Zambia, Africa that says “one who enters the forest does not listen to the breaking of twigs in the brush.” For myself the forest represents entering college nearly forty years after high school, and after working thirty years in the factory. Numerous times, as my world seemed to close in and suffocate me, my thoughts would reflect back on this ancient proverb. I had to grip tightly and cling to the meaning, especially when listening to well meaning “friends,” who would kindly point out that by the time I received a degree, I would probably be eligible for social security benefits. Others would appeal to the restoration time and the money that I had invested in my home. “My heavens, it is so very tranquil here. Why on earth would you want to sell your home and trade the privacy of this splendid neighborhood and move to a townhouse?” “Don’t you know, that it’s just not safe anymore living in places where people are constantly moving in and out?” But safe or not, I’m certain they were not going to help me make house payments when my unemployment checks ran out. If God closes one door, He will surely open another.
Family members were quick to point out how convenient it is to be able to turn my grandchildren loose outside without worry, but in a townhouse, I would have to keep my eyes on them every minute.
These “well meaning” folks make me want to vomit. Society, even flesh and blood can be so insensitive. Of course I did not want to sell my home. I worked hard for it. I loved sitting quietly in my rose garden at the end of a long day and greeting the dawn, while sipping coffee in my sunroom. Indeed my grandchildren did love it here. They had acquired tons of friends, but on the other hand, they have homes of their own. It is a privilege having your own bedroom at home and at your grandparent’s, but it is not a necessity.
My parent’s taught me that you play the hand you are dealt, so that is exactly what I had to do. My company was shut down; most of the jobs were headed to Mexico and China. I was caught in the crossfire, six months short of retirement, which translates, “go work another ten years on top of the thirty you already worked, in order to get your pension.” Oh, and thank God I was fairly healthy, because in a few months, I would have no health insurance. So you see, crying about a house or any other material possession made absolutely no sense.
The only logical thing to do is forging ahead into the unknown and scary forest, so that I do not end up irredeemable and devastated. My research consisted of combining future ample jobs with things that I had always dreamed of doing. Because of my work with youth at our church, I became a guardian ad litem with the Stark County Family Court. I felt I could make a difference in the lives of these children. Most of them are dealing with the loss of being removed from their dysfunctional families. Although the separation is for their well being, it is the only life they know and usually, regardless of how ghastly the situation, their heart still longs for home. In a small way I can sympathize; I was ripped from my Hoover family before I was ready. Many of us had our babies together, labored and dreamed of retirement, as these children matured before our eyes. We then struggled to complete the college years as they bloomed into adulthood. Through births, marriages, divorces and deaths, we laughed and cried with each other amid relationships cultivated over a thirty year span.
Some were fortunate enough to be able to retire, but so many of us were left just like these children, having no ideal what the future will bring.
I have chose the field of family law, in the hope God will use me to help some of these children make their way through the scary and uncharted forest, and to achieve their dreams in spite of overwhelming circumstances.