Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Jumping Off The High Dive

It seems my blogging has been neglected of late, hasn't it?  I guess I've been busy.  I think a better word is distracted.  I'm going to be even more distracted over the next few weeks.  It's time for summer ISLE.  No, this isn't some wondrous beach resort where I enjoy fun and sun.  Quite the opposite, it is a grueling 9 days living in a college dorm while taking classes from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.  Sunday and weekends are included.  Yes, 9 straight days of preparation and instruction.

I'm not looking forward to it.  Last year I was scared.  I was just beginning to come alive again.  Like the tiniest buds of April, I was just seeing the first glimpses of hope.  This was my first big challenge in a long time.  Could I handle it?  I wouldn't know until I tried.  Despite common perceptions, I'm a very shy and insecure individual.  A whole new group of people, most of them much younger, some the age of my children, would be my cohort-mates.  I'd even get to share the intimacy of bathroom sharing with one of them.

Here is my Professional Personal Action Plan update from last year - turn your speakers on for the finale:

I did survive.  I did fairly well.  I felt good about myself when I was done.  I had done something I'd never done before.  I'd slept in a dorm bed.  I didn't leave there with friends for life, but at least I knew names and faces of most of the people in our group.  A few have left since then, and tomorrow at 10 a.m. we'll be together to be oriented again to life at ISLE.

I'm not ready.  Oh, I have my classroom - pre-homework - done.  I am not packed, but that's typical of me.  I'm not ready emotionally.  The same fears I had last year have surfaced and been compounded by knowledge.  I KNOW what ISLE is like.  Despite telling myself I did it before, I can do it again, I'm stressed.

When I was a child I spent summers at Sunset Park Pool.  Carrying my rolled towel with clean panties hidden inside and a dime hidden in my pocket, the steamy pavement made me long all the more for the cool waters of the pool.  Five cents was the ticket to heaven.  The other five cents was for a Popsicle on the way home.  There were two pools behind the black iron fence of the pool.  One was the spectacular marvel of the WPA with lights underwater.  Its 3 foot depth was safe.    I swam like a fish in the shallow depths of that massive pool.  But the other pool, smaller, rounder, had a 16 foot deep that was for diving only.  The high dive was intimidating.  A life guard stood at the top to assure your safety.  The low dive, less intimidating stood beside it.

I never went off the high dive.  I would imagine how wonderful it would be, but since I had never learned to dive I never scaled the heights of the ladder.  My fears kept me from plunging face first into the water.

The high dive was for diving only,
         no jumping,
                no holding your nose,
                       no belly flops,
                                 just diving.
                                           The high dive was for the fearless.

Occasionally I'd jump off the low dive with nose plugs in place.   I always regretted not scaling the ladder and diving into those 16 foot waters.

Tomorrow, I'll scale the high dive.   As I finish packing, as I load the car, as I arrive on campus and as I drag the provisions of 9 days into my room, I will be taking each step up that ladder with fear.  I have so many self-doubts.  Today, like so many days, I ask myself,

"Why does an old woman pursue a doctoral degree when she has few years to benefit from it and no job?"

That is a good question.  I don't have a good answer.  I only know that I don't want to regret not jumping off the high dive again.


  1. Moses was 80 years old when he began in leadership; Abraham was also about 80 when he first heard the Lord. Joshua was an old man but Scripture says he was as if he was young.

    Prince Charles (English monarchy) is about 65 and he still hasn't stepped into his life's calling.

    You don't know what God has planned for you in this stage of your life. Perhaps it's more about the journey than the degree, perhaps you need that degree for what God is preparing you.

    What the world considers as 'too old', God likes to get things started. Press on. Onward and upward.

  2. Joyce...
    All I know is that I admire you!

  3. Andrea, you forgot Caleb :) Thanks for the encouragement. I used to have a tiny picture on my refrigerator. I cut it out from Charisma magazine about 11 years ago. It was this tiny African American woman who was retiring from pastoring a church. She was 90 something. She started the church at 60. So she'd been their pastor for over 30 years. I kept it on my fridge to remind me that there was still time. I do, at times, feel like I am running out of time but as I head to class this a.m., I am thinking of that picture.
    Lin, I love you! thanks!


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