While walking from our cars to our offices, a colleague and I began talking about the rhythmic tone of an academic life, commenting how much we treasure the new beginnings each fresh semester brings. It is almost like we get an invitation for limitless “do overs”: create a new syllabus, use different textbooks, try various teaching tools, and explore alternative assignments.
But, this is a life I chose, and in so doing, I’m pretty sure I messed up.
You see, I have a hard time believing my father would have picked this specific career for me, not because he wouldn’t have thought I could do it, but because it simply wouldn’t have occurred to him.
I suppose his failure to establish my future is a sin he will have to account for on judgment day. And, unfortunately for him, it will not be the only one because he also failed to live up to his fatherly role in another way. As I have recently learned on the eminently helpful visionarydaughters.com website, he should have been my protection, sheltering me from all things dangerous or tempting, keeping me at home working within the family until my husband emerged at which time I could be shuffled from under my father’s careful watch to Bryan’s.
Not only did my father mess up my life but Bryan hasn’t done a very good job, either. First, he allowed me to get two graduate degrees, in some cases, providing some of the financial resources to do so. Further, he gave up his more important job at a technology company and moved across the country so that I could take a teaching position. I’m pretty sure that particular decision was an especially big sin which is why it took him so long to find a job once we were settled in Oregon and probably also why he was laid off several years later. As it turns out, God holds a pretty big grudge when you let the wife’s career take precedence over the husband’s.
So, both of the men in my life have pretty much bungled any vision I might have. I mean, my whole teaching experience has been a bad thing for everyone. I get up most days energized by the classroom possibilities. I pour over books and notes; I scour the Internet for cultural clues that will intersect with ideas I want students to consider. I talk with students outside the classroom and encourage them to dream large dreams, to embrace all that life has to offer, to think in new and challenging ways.
It’s too bad this waste of my life. And, since I’m the one who has recognized how my father and my husband have shunned their responsibilities for me, there is really nothing I can do to change the situation. I guess I’ll just keep living this sinful life that God didn’t intend for me all the while praying the men in my life get their stuff together.
All snide comments aside, having found visionarydaughters.com will most likely haunt me. I am sad and angry and frustrated and did I mention angry? When patriarchy masquerades as following Jesus it is nothing other than idolatry. Sucking young girls into this false call of what it means to be a disciple, of what it means to be made in the image of God, of what it means to be the presence of God in this world is the epitome of sin.
There: I said it. So, now you can pray for me that I learn to listen in submission and quit saying what I think.