I have no idea what I’m talking about
Here are some random thoughts that may or may not be connected by anything other than my current train of thought.
Disclaimer: I have yet to take my ADHD meds today.
About this time 30 years ago I was eagerly anticipating the end of my final academic year as a high school student. I was 17, worked at Walmart evenings and weekends, and was saving up money to get the family’s old Dodge Coronet sedan running so I could drive the granny-looking “sleeper” to college at Southern Miss.
I had near-perfect grades, won several academic awards, was in good physical shape and had more goals than sense. I also had a terrible bowl haircut, enough acne for 10 people and absolutely no social life.
I had a full ride to my local community college, but opted for fewer scholarships at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg so I could dive straight into my desired path of study — graphic design and illustration with a minor in English — and not “have to” live at home. Just over a year later, I found out that not attending classes and failing to turn in assignments at college just did not work in my favor. I lost my scholarships, was “invited to leave” the Honors College and went job hunting.
At one time I was working four part-time jobs — stocking and sales at McRae’s, food prep and service at Subs-n-Salads, weekly delivery for The Advertiser News newspaper and pricing coordinator at Lowe’s Home Improvement. I somehow found time to attend church regularly and maintain a dating relationship, as well. I was very busy and very tired, but I was productive and it was during this time that I really began to understand that I could not just float along happily through life.
I’m still not happy about that revelation.
Ten years after I graduated high school, I moved my wife and two sons from our 3,000-square-foot home just outside Hattiesburg to a 480-square-foot apartment in the Big Easy. At New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, I finished the few classes I still needed for a bachelors degree — undergraduate dean Duke told me I was the first pastoral ministry graduate to have a minor in art — and earned my master’s.
My diploma says my master of divinity degree is in “Christian Thought.”
Does that mean I now know how all Christians think? Ha. Right. It was an amalgam of apologetics, history, philosophy and theology. So what does one do with degrees in all that? I’m the lifestyles editor at the newspaper. But it’s weird how much of all that comes into play here — the graphics and English, mainly.
I like old motorcycles, barbecue sauces and babies’ laughter and — how long does it take for that train to just go on by, already? Surely 30-plus pulls on the horn were adequate. And the word of the day is “jocose” — given to joking. Thanks, wife.
Note to self: You should really have taken those meds by now.
Where were we?
Now it’s been three decades since I tossed my mortarboard at the green-cloaked graduation ceremonies of Hickory High School (may it rest in peace) and one of my children is about to be a high school senior and another is about to be a college senior and married. I have five wonderful children and am married for the second time (to a wonderful woman) and have forgotten more things than I’ve said and done.
I am not where I wanted to be when I graduated high school. I did not take the easiest path to get where I am, because the easier paths never led anywhere. Nowhere good, anyway. I am where and who I am by the grace of God. All that’s good is because of him. All that’s not is entirely my own fault.
I’ve learned a lot, been through a lot and been spared a lot.
So I guess I shared all this with you to say just this — today I am grateful.
Lifestyles editor Brett Campbell can be reached at 601-265-5307 or firstname.lastname@example.org.