What to do with a year

So, it looks like most likely I’ll have a year between the classes that just ended and the next classes within the college program.

And I know that usually when God pulls stuff like that it’s for a reason and there is a purpose behind it.

But what exactly that is I’ve yet to find out. What am I supposed to do with this year?

What do you do with a spare year of time to kill when you are broke and have a kid? It’s not exactly feasible to do a gap year thing and go travel or go do missions or something.

Financially… I need to get a job. But, given the previous failures at this.. I can’t say I have much optimism. I actually couldn’t even get hired at a 2 month seasonal position that paid minimum wage watering plants and running cash register at a tent for a greenhouse this summer… though at least I made it through both rounds of interviews to be considered.

I know better than to even mention before hired that I don’t expect it to last beyond a year, but, if it pays well, would I even have the confidence in future jobs to be brave enough to leave? School also involves clinicals after the first semester, so working full time through classes is pretty much completely out.

But then, maybe this is actually a way of this path ending, but putting it into my hands to accept this and follow through with making the choice to close the door. There have been lessons and purposes enough in the past year that I can see where its possible that school has already fulfilled its true reason, even if not fulfilling its “get a job” apparent reason.

They recommend in the letter that I take the chemistry and other theology class required during the year to get them out of the way. But, killing time with classes only sounds nice until you look at the numbers. The student loans through the government have a lifetime limit for the undergraduate level, even if you’ve already paid part of the previous ones off…. and with my previous classes, plus this past year of pre-reqs, plus the anticipated cost of two more years at a private college…. I’m already going to be getting pretty close to the line before it’s all said and done.

So I really don’t know right now.

Why are things like this never obvious and clear to me?

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The help of a reason

Ok.. so part two of mental issues related to being creative…

Part of the reason I’m backing this one up so close to the last post is that I know I have lurkers, from at least two different other places. And I know those particular lurkers are all going to be emailing me, going “but you are creative! and *insert random project here* made me laugh, that has benefit!”

So yes…. there is purpose in some of the random things I do, but, usually, either it motivated the process, or something else motivated the process and whatever was useful happened along the way.

Which is awesome really for the end result…

But makes it less than helpful in the starting stages.

Lost yet?

Example:

Photoshop
(because I know it’s the example that would have been used in over half of the lurker messages)

What happened:

For months, I was playing around with photoshop, combining various pics in funny ways. There are huge communities on the web of folks into this… holding various competitions daily on themes and such. My favorite site was mechapixel, because it did well with masking owners of the entries.

And I entered. And entered. And not once did I even come remotely close to the top half of the competition.

While playing around in the process of this… I made a few silly pics involving someone from another website I was on. These were much lower quality than the others I was doing for entries.

In a bout of drama on the site, I posted them. Expecting more drama as a result… and because of the drama, not caring anymore about the defensiveness I expected as a result.

In probably the biggest shock of my life, they went over wonderfully… and actually, over the next week, completely overshadowed the drama I’d previously been ready to leave the site over.

So, by request, I made more. Again, lower quality. And again, went well, and again, more requests.

This went on… and on… and on… for more than 200 pictures over the spell of more than a year.

Not because of any high degree of skill or talent… just because they hit their newly found purpose.

Because I had a purpose for them… amusement of the site members.. having a purpose thus made the time spent justified… and gave motivation to the make them to meet that purpose, not just for the sake of making something.

And actually, following that, amusement of the site members has actually helped give a purpose for a whole variety of different projects… from avatars, to pumpkin carving, to apple carving (don’t ask), to cake shaping, to costume making, to the making of molds and products made with the molds, etc.

But being creative without that purpose from the beginning… is so much harder. So something without a useful end result in sight is so much harder to get started, or even justify trying.

Creative lack of purpose

I think my biggest excuse for not being creative isn’t an excuse per se, but just a reason. And an attitude behind the reason. And a feeling behind the attitude.

The reason being that it’s hard for me to justify making time to do so when it’s just being done for personal purposes.. for my own entertainment instead of an intended benefit. And I find it hard to do things when I don’t have a larger purpose for them.

I don’t feel like I really have any particularly strong talent in a given area. By which I mean, if I were a really good painter, it would be easier to justify the time spent in painting as being of benefit to more than just my own amusement. If I had amazing skills at sculpture, it would then be easy to justify time spent using those skills. The benefit of the end product to others would give it a purpose, to then motivate the process and justify it.

I used to think that I was only creative when I was in a good mood and things were going well… but after a while I realized that part of the good feeling was from the process itself, which then helped my mood, which then helped everything else going on.

So it gets into the mindset of one of those art theories where the end product is irrelevant, art is just about the process of your expression in forming it. An experience, not an object.

But, when its just about experience… it’s hard to justify playing around with clay instead of getting the laundry folded, even if more pleasant and more likely to make you feel better.

Because as an experience, it only benefits you who experience it. Entirely selfish.

And something in that just doesn’t sit right with me. It’s a nice theory… it’s just not it somehow.

And the more I think about it, the more that I start to realize that if creativity and creation are only for the experience, then we are nothing more than god’s boredom… something he made to have fun on a week with nothing else to do.

And I know better than that.

But its harder to justify the small scale lack of purpose… to try to disconnect it into something entirely a different thing.. just an amusement… a different kind of thing… it just doesn’t work well.

So I get into this really weird place, of feeling like I’m wasting time that should be spent in productive things if I don’t, and wasting time and purpose that should be used towards more helpful things for the world if I do.

Somehow I’m betting the poor author of this book was expecting much more simple excuses. Just “I don’t have time” seems to be the flow of most of the posted responses of the others that were in the group.

Not just days.

Genesis 1

14 Then God said, “Let lights appear in the sky to separate the day from the night. Let them mark off the seasons, days, and years.

The inclusion of directly mentioning them marking the seasons and years here, not just the more obvious days, seemed kind of interesting. Directly ordered for them to do so even.

(um… yeah… i didn’t make it to sleep yet. 8 more verses, and I’m distracted on random tangent again.. but this time, the urge to google how long it took humans to notice this is going unfollowed)

but wait…

16 God made two great lights—the larger one to govern the day, and the smaller one to govern the night. He also made the stars.

its also kinda interesting that it says the purpose of the sun and the moon… but not the stars.

maybe they really are just pretty decoration to give us something to stare at, and makes shapes from.. and try to count… and use symbolically to old abe.

but then…. they do serve a really good purpose in navigation.

so we’ve got the purpose of the sun and moon mention… and what else they control.. but stars don’t get theirs.

I wonder whether we figured out navigation by stars first, or that the seasons and years thing already told directly was right.

i’m betting it was navigation.

but i’m still not googling it.

Prosperity tumors

One of the things I sometimes have difficulty explaining is televangelists.

How is it that what seems like it should be one of the most awesome and powerful tools in the aresenal of the church… extended times on the same television that has become the central focus of so many american households… has turned into a mess with such frequency that the tool itself becomes known as something to make christians wince?

Well… probably simply that… because it could be such a powerful tool, it becomes a very high priority target for the opponent. And I think on that front, unfortunately, he’s definately winning. There are a few good shows bringing victories to a few battles… but on the whole?

But how do you explain them? How do you explain how good and true biblical statements can get so twisted and distorted?

Cancer.

It strikes me how much these can really resemble a tumor.

Normal cells… but not healthy ones. A part of the body, sort of, but not a functional one. And one most of the body would be better off removing many times. And the rate of growth?

Yes, these ministries grow rather rapidly. But so do cancer cells. Rate of growth and size are not indicators of health in churches any more than they are in cells.

The purpose of any body part is not to itself… whats the point of an eye seeing if it’s on its own and that’s the only thing it can do… but in its use to the body as a whole. While it may be made of the same essential cells, and feed off the same nutrients as healthy body parts, a tumor serves nothing but its own growth and size.

But… this body is fortunate. They know the most skilled surgeon. Why? Because he made the body in the first place. He knows the exact time and way to deal with things like this.

Until then? Send up some “cosmic chemotherapy” for them.