Friday, August 19, 2011

Fortune Cookie

We often eat at small Chinese carry-out restaurant that has a few tables.  I always laugh when my husband says “Oh we know the best Chinese restaurant.”  To me, it’s not really a restaurant, it’s a small carry-out place that happens to have a few tables.  However, it is clean and the food is good.  My husband and I always get the same thing – we share General Tso with extra white rice.  When we come in, they just nod.  They know our order and us.  Most of the other customers come in reciting their phone numbers and get a bag of food to go.

Sometimes they forget to give us our fortune cookie.  We always ask for them.  It’s become quite a ritual.  Our son made up a “ritual” for them.  We open them.  We break them.  We eat half before we look at the fortune.  After we’ve chewed the first half, we read the fortune.  If we agree, we eat the other half.  So far, we’ve always agreed.  Several times lately, I’ve gotten empty cookies.  I think that’s appropriate because often I am gloomy, discouraged, and frustrated.  It seems there is no good fortune in my future.  Usually my husband or son get the best fortunes.

Earlier this week we ate General Tso at China Spring.  After I chewed the first half of the fortune cookie, I read my fortune.  Wow!  I got the good one!  It was “soon you will get something you always wanted.”  While I didn’t believe it, I still ate the other half of the cookie in hopes that maybe, just maybe, good fortune would follow.  Silly? Sure… Superstitious? Of course – Fun??? Absolutely and it makes for great conversation.

I’m pessimistic – I went from a formerly optimistic person to one who struggles to find optimism. 

Nevertheless, I never give up hope.  I will cling even to the false promises of a good fortune in a cookie.  I thought a lot about that fortune.  I even fantasized what I might get.  What have I ALWAYS wanted? 

Actually, it’s hard for an analytical person like myself to come up with things I always wanted.  I can think of lots of things I want right now – like a job, a iPad, a nice car, a vacation, etc.  But I haven’t always wanted those thing.  On any given day, my list could change of what I want right now.

There is one thing though that stands out today.  Maybe it is because it is beginning to seem so far away.  I thought I had it in my hand – now I’m not so sure.  Maybe I haven’t wanted this since I was five.  And yet, in other ways, I have always wanted it.  I wanted to do something important.  I wanted to make a difference.  I wanted to be what God wanted me to be – I’ve definitely wanted that all my life.

I’ve been talking about getting my doctoral degree for over 30 years now.  Finally, after all this time, I thought it was on the horizon.  May 4, 2013 was the day I’d be hooded with a doctoral hood.  There is so much desire and so much pathology wrapped into this dream.  I don’t know what God has, but I’ve felt this was God giving me the desire of my heart.  I also knew He’d use it. 

I knew it wouldn’t be easy.  I knew the writing and the research for the background would be time consuming, frustration, and yet, exhilarating – I’m wired that way.  I love to learn.  I never thought that the most difficult part would be asking friends to help me.  I naively thought that since I am such a giving person and I bend over backwards to help people, that people would say, sure – how can I help?

I was wrong… I was very wrong.  I’m begging and pleading in every way possible for people to just look at the project.  I am happy to answer questions even though I know most of the questions are answered by simply reading what I’ve provided.  People don’t like to read.  I know how hard it is to look at lots of words on a page and say “nah– can’t be bothered…” 
But your friends?  
Your classmates?  
People who are journeying with you for the same goal?  That really hurts.  There are exceptions of course and God bless them!  But not enough.  Not enough to finish my research and my degree.  Oh I still have some time and maybe my fortune cookie will prove true.  For a while, I’ll cling tenaciously to that hope.

I’m learning so much in this process.  I truly am an expert in my field – but then, it seems, no one is interested in an old woman who is an expert in technology and its use in the church.  If I were young and male, I’d have the world at my feet.  Seems I should have forgotten my dream and desire.  Seems I should have just focused on the laundry, or cooking, or serving men.  We haven't progressed much, especially in the church.

It’s easy to say, oh well, it’s their loss, but it’s my loss too – my lost dreams… 

Should you be interested in my research, go to my research project website here.

1 comment:

  1. I hear ya, sis. I know a thing or 2 about lost dream. Meanwhile, I just posted your link to the research project on my FB page.


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