Thursday, January 31, 2013

I didn't miss you, pain

The pain is spiking, and I haven't been sleeping much.  I never really know what is cause and what is effect.  It doesn't matter because I just have to deal with the one-two punch combo, only since there are several areas of pain concentration, it feels more like being pummeled by a bigger combo.  It's funny how when the pain isn't as bad, I sometimes wonder if I am overdramatizing it or romantiSIZING it.  Then it gets bad again, and I realize I wasn't. 

I was actually hopeful that I might be coming down with the flu or something, and that's when I realized it was pretty bad.  The flu is somewhat predictable and finite (even for folks with bad lungs like I have).  This pain?  Not so predictable.  Like a real shadow boxer: someone I can't see lurking and then JAB and my breath is gone, and I can't remember what I was thinking about because all that's there is the pain.  And then it's gone, and I'm panting a bit and sweaty and glad my new chair is sturdy and hard to fall out of.

And I think again, "I have got to do something about this."  But then I have to get back to work, almost frantic to make up for those seconds lost to this round of pain as I wait for the next one.  And besides, drugs are the only thing I haven't tried, and I like to think that with my propensity for weird and crappy side effects, I still probably feel better overall without them.  But I will definitely get my shoulder diagnosed this year. 

After that, if I haven't gotten laid off yet, I will try some more physical therapy for the other arm, the one with the nerve problems, the really tricky one that started all this.  I am cautious not to aim to high, not to overwhelm myself with all these problems.  Slowly, one step at a time.  Until I find out that all of them are incurable and have only one choice left: Deal with it.

Until then, there is hope. 

You can see why I might procrastinate in this.  Cut me a little slack about it, okay?  : )

Friday, January 25, 2013

Mamma mia, alma mater!

This is not how I want to be spending my Friday night: in despair about my alma mater.  On top of the numerous other questionable decisions made using questionable methods in the last few years, they have decided to cut the philosophy major.  Yes, a liberal arts college without a philosophy major.  On the positive side,  I no longer have to wonder if I would have been miserable teaching there: I know. 

I just wish I didn't have to be ashamed of the behavior of both my alma maters.  (The other one recently ripped apart the liberal studies program and cut the Liberal Studies master's degree, as well, under similar circumstances.)  For a while, it wasn't a complete black mark to tell people I graduated from those institutions, and I could even recommend them without reservation.  Now?  Well . . .  But anyway, focus on the positives!
  • I am now officially really glad I didn't get that job, that they treated me in the shameful way they did. 
  • I'm glad I no longer feel conflicted about giving financially to the institution. 
  • I feel lighter knowing I no longer have to keep attending the church I've been attending mostly because it fits with Cedarville's doctrinal statement (even if I don't) on the off chance that another job opens up, and they don't treat me like crap this time through. 
  • I don't really have to blog "anonymously" anymore if I don't want to (I was doing so partly because some of the things I said could have adversely affected my chances of employment there) because I wouldn't want to teach there even if they offered me a position, at least not until things stop heading the direction they are right now.  (And if things turn around, then I don't think anything I have said would prevent me from getting hired at an institution heading in a better direction.)
Why do these positives leave me feeling so negative?  Am I being completely unreasonable to demand this from my Christian alma mater?
"We believe that every organization, especially those in higher education, and most-especially those claiming the name of Christ, should be characterized by transparency." - Fiat Lux

Friday, January 18, 2013

What your school owes you

So my school is in the news making me sad again.  It claims to be a liberal arts college, but it's in the process of eliminating the philosophy major under less-than-aboveboard circumstances.  Recently a long-standing administrator may have been relieved of his duties under less-than-legitimate circumstances.  A faculty member was fired because the powers that be suddenly decided that it was suddenly not okay that he did not believe exactly what they wanted him to believe for the exact same reasons they did.  (They stressed that they were not questioning his orthodoxy, but apparently they didn't realize what they were stressing by the nature and circumstances of the action.)  Academic freedom for faculty members has been steadily being eroded, and the institution is no longer one I really wish to financially support.

Another school I graduated from recently eliminated part of the program that brought me to them in the first place.  Another school has changed its focus and purpose and is no longer doing the excellent work I loved it for.  Another school shamefully forgave a popular male athlete for a crime that they never considered forgiving female athletes for.  These institutions run by human beings keep making decisions I think are bad, and I don't want to support them when I could be using that money elsewhere to support institutions that are doing more things right.  If only they would stop doing things to make me sad, I would be more willing to (continue to) give them financial support.

But who am I to demand that they do what I want to keep getting me to give them my money?  Who am I to demand that they cater to me and my paltry amount of support?  What do they owe me individually as a graduate?  What do they owe their alumni as a whole?

One of the things that's been galling about all of these actions is that they appear to be driven by (I am assuming) old men in power who are very, very afraid of anything that does not match up exactly to what they believe.  And it is possible that these men are driven to these actions because they fear that the older, more conservative alumni with the most money to give would stop giving that money if the institution changes any more than it already has.  As a blogger I admire once said, it's pretty galling when you know you are in the category of acceptable loss.

The interesting thing is that this tactic may be very short sighted on the part of the current decision makers.  I mean, the current old men will grow old and die, and the future support will come from my generation eventually.  Or, at this rate, maybe it won't.  Maybe the institution will fade away because they have alienated my generation.  Or maybe it will thrive despite that.  It doesn't really matter.

What I am trying to figure out is if it is fair of me to deny my monetary support to the students who need it just because the old men who run the institution are currently acting in a manner I find offensive.  Is it? 

Is it childish of me to, well, take my toys and go because the other kids aren't playing the way I want them to?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Giving up this one thing

"My dreams and my fears and my hopes and my anxieties get all knotted up in my hands, and I say to God, I give these things to you, but I don’t really. I keep picking at the mess of it, trying to untangle it myself. I am worrying and clutching tight, simultaneously comforted and agitated by the feel of all of this weight in my hands."
. . .
"And the other, unexpected part of its beauty comes with the release. In the trusting that God is good, that the world is rich with good things, that giving up this one thing does not mean giving up."
-Addie Zierman
Oh.  Yes.  Please.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Being the grownup (in my own special way)

I am really trying to be an adult about this, but it's hard.  In my small group from church, we got on the topic of how I am really not a people person but how I seem to be constantly be involved in things that help other people connect.  I am overcompensating, in a way.  I lack something that most people have, and I've read enough and known enough people to recognize this.  As the dispassionate outsider, maybe I'm somehow better equipped to help other people connect?  I don't know. 

Anyway, the group members all did the sharing-not-so-secret-grins-and-eye-contact that says, "Ha ha, you say this, but you are exaggerating, and we know the real you really like people and are just shy."  They dismiss all my hard work in fighting my nature pretty much every second I am around them (and everybody else).  It is reeeeeeallllly annoying.  And it makes me want to do nothing more than what I really want to do: withdraw and be blessedly alone, no matter who I have to hurt in the process.  Ignore invitations, blow people off to hibernate as much as possible, read when I want to, not have to be with people.

I mean, I really don't want to waste time on all these things that I do because they are good things to do.  I do them because they help others and show my commitment to to follow Christ and love the people He puts around me because He asks me to love them, which I can only do through my choice of will and my actions of denying myself and my desires.  And people basically thinking it's a big joke that I say this is such hard work make me want to throw in the towel.

But, you know?  That would be really childish and immature.  I am not, ultimately, doing this for their approval.  I have higher reasons.  So even though giving in sounds glorious (I cannot tell you how wonderful it sounds or how much I want it), I will keep going to meet with them and will try my best to ignore their knowing smirks that don't, in fact, know anything because I know who I am, and God knows my heart, and that's really all that matters.