Born a precocious child, I coasted through the public school system without having to try in any subject, excelling in both literature and writing (no big surprise there, I’m sure). My GPA left me in the top 25 in my class and my courseload left me woefully unprepared for what would come for me later both in academics and in life in general. It’s a bold-faced lie anymore that high school prepares you for college. If I couldn’t find motivation or a need to study in high school, where were those skills going to come from when I got into college?
I’ll give away the ending for you. They didn’t manifest themselves at all and I failed out of most of my classes the first time I attempted college right out of the high school gate. What would follow would be a long winter that extended in my heart for a few years. I was undiagnosed at that point, so I was running completely on self-control. I was a complete wreck. I made poor decisions, I was impulsive, and I put myself through some not-so-great relationships. That’s my fault. It was my grand assumption that everything should come to me easily and, if it did, it meant I was doing something right.
Such flawed logic would bring me to my knees later. But it would bring me back to God, too. That’s another story.
So, here I am, ten years later. I got through college and graduated with a BA in Biblical Interpretation. It was one of the most difficult and trying times of my life, not just academically but spirtually as well. I hadn’t shaken my habit of poor relationshps, but I was learning the art of undertaking a challenge. I took two years of Koine Greek and two and a half years of Biblical Hebrew. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the challenge, but it was usually 4-6 hours of homework per day of class but the year they overlapped was one of the worst times of my life. I rose to the occasion, I think, considering they were some of the only classes I did really well in. I was 26 by the time I graduated and my whole mindset about putting forth effort had changed.
This still came back to bite me in the ass during college and after graduation when I put an unbelievable amount of effort in a long term relationship that ended with my getting dumped for another guy and then ghosted. I tried so hard to make it work and found out it was all for naught.
At the same time I became more persistent but relaxed. It’s easy to beat yourself up for your mistakes but it’s really all waste if you choose to wallow in your mistakes and don’tlearn from them. I learn the hard way. That’s the way it’s always been.
I took the path of least resistance for a long time after I graduated and then got dumped a month later. I followed the same routine every day, didn’t really go anywhere if I didn’t have to. I’ve learned through experience and a couple years of therapy my soul is not content to reside in a rut for very long. I tried, what I thought, was an easy fix to my loneliness and signed up for online dating services. I met one girl and she ghosted me. After that everything went silent. Realizing this was a fruitless endeavor, I deleted all my accounts and leaned on faith. I had nothing else.
This has bled into other parts of my life as well. I’m at a new church where, despite the number of people and my social anxiety, I’ve thrown myself into helping wherever I can, usually keeping silent. Serving in silence is not something I was ever really good at but I feel more connected that way then I ever did serving in previous capacities. In doing so I’ve abdicated my desire to seek out connections and let them come as they may. This takes more patience than one might imagine. It’s almost like meditation. I’m not forcing myself on an environment but allowing it to absorb me; focus on your breath, if a thought enters your mind, label it and let it pass.
Lately, this persistence has grown into my spare time. I’ve been teaching myself to code in Ruby on Rails. There’s something deeply philosophical about, an hard-learned lesson in linguistics. In the levels of communication, it’s essentially the development of a language using smaller bits of communication. It’s how the way we speak develops as well. It’s also a colossal source of frustration, which I love and hate. Fixing a coding issue in one area only to have broken one in another is a continuous process. Yet, I persist because it’s something I can’t do fresh out of the box.
I’m starting to embrace that feeling. Am I growing up?