Ideally, this title should’ve caught your attention

It has been so long since I sat down to write again–as in, really come up with a topic and write again–and my getting sick, I guess, is perfect timing to catch up with my writing hiatus. With no papers to check, no lessons to prepare for, and the possibility of skipping work tomorrow (July 13, 8:34 AM: I did skip work), I have all the time tonight to talk about an idea that just popped in my head while I was at the clinic today.

A phrase which begins with the word “ideally…” is almost always followed with a phrase that begins with the word “but…”. I find myself saying phrases like this when I’m teaching: “Ideally, journalists should be doing thisbut…” “Ideally, communication in a small group should be like this, but…” It’s a phrase we just throw out there without much second-guessing.

And yet, it’s a phrase that, when pondered upon long enough–and trying to get better in a school clinic for n hours is long enough–brings a bout of both hope and dismay in me.

I’m really idealistic in many ways. I came out of college full of hope for what’s ahead. My journalism fantasies include being a full-pledged career woman by the time I hit 27, the age when I plan to marry the love of my life. By then, I’d have to add extra slashes to my description: Christian/writer/journalist/worship leader/Proverbs 31 Wife. I’d be employed in an institution that I believe and am willing to invest my years in. I’d be going places for the love of stories, truth, and idealism. And I’d be coming back to a warm home after my adventures. I imagine a home where familiar is comfort, and love is a staple served always the same way, but always different too. It would also be a home where Christ is followed and God is glorified.

Basically, that’s my life in 10 years or so.

Ideally.

But if the beginning of the journey does not look anything like the supposed destination, then would that mean I’m to expect a totally different 10-years-from-now life from that of my fantasies? I’m not in the journalism industry as of right now, and if anyone would ask me if that worries me, then let me respond with a big, fat NO.

Because even though, ideally, I should be in the journalism field from the get-go, the Lord has better plans for me. Today I read a tweet that says God never leads us where He cannot keep us, and that pretty much sums up what I feel about where I am right now. I know my destination, and I’m sure the journey won’t be full of sunshine as my idealism puts it, but that just assures me all the more that even if I decide to turn left when people expect me to turn right, the road will still lead me, ultimately, to my destination.

I was interviewed last week by a group of students writing for our student publication, and they asked me why I chose to be a teacher. I told them I think of this season in my life as a pit stop, a training ground. I know my destination, because God made that clear with me since I was still in third year high school, and these little unexpected pit stops make my journey exciting and worth taking.

Idealism allows for disappointment. As Tong Jia Di of my favorite Taiwanese drama, Why Why Love puts it:  Without expectations, there is no disappointment.  But if these disappointments will give me the kick in the gut to try all the more to get to the finish line, then by all means, bring all the disappointments in!

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