Pearls and Dreams
Tonight, I went to a friends graduation from Junior college. 37 years old, and getting her associates in accounting. She and I have both talked about the fact that we made poor decisions right out of high school to not go to college. While she struggles academically far more than I do, or did, she still could have gone to college fairly easily.
My reasons were of fear and stubborness. Hers were of pure fear. I had a full 4 year, full ride scholarship offered ... and didn't take it. She didn't even apply.
When I graduated high school, I had a skill. An employable skill. While I didn't use it to get a job, I could have. I did do it volunteering in church. When I moved back to Colorado, I did substitute for a friend in the University (and got a job offer from the University ...get certified, our expense, you have a job!)
I didn't do it.
My skill? Interpreting for the deaf. My reason? I didn't think I could pass the test. This wasn't stubborness ..this one was fear. Pure fear. Every certified interpreter I knew was over the age of 25. I was all of 18. How in the world could I have the skills necessary to pass the test? Are they nuts? Besides, you have to reverse interpret too ..and I'm not near as good at reading sign as signing.
I moved back to Oklahoma ...and we (a friend and I) started a deaf ministry and sign (to music) ministry at our church. Soon, a certified interpreter found us, and started to come. She encouraged me to get certified. At the time, I could get a lifetime (with the need for retesting,but as long as I continued to pass the test, or could re test, I'd be certified...the rules at time of certification would remain in play)certification. I, again, looked at all the certified interpreters I knew. I was 19 ... no way!
No way could I be good enough!
So, life went on. I didn't become certified and life took me down twists and turns I did not expect.
At the age of 23, I realized the drastic mistake I'd made with college. I entered the junior college my friend just graduated from. I became a special education major, emphasis on deaf education. They tried to convince me to enter the interpreter training program instead. It was only 2 years, I could become certified right away, and get my degree after, and then the college would allow me to teach classes while paying for my education while I finished my education to become a certified interpreter's instructor.
No! Not me! I'm not 'old enough' not mature enough ..not ...enough.
24, the day my son was born ... I got sick. My muscles stopped working right ...and my life became about survival. Interpreting, signing and everything pretty much took a backseat. Figuring out how to live with my disease became the task of the day. I honestly didn't know if I'd ever sign again.
By the time I was 32, I started to sign again. To music, not interpret. I knew I didn't have the endurance (and don't) for interpreting. I was surprised, after a few years not of signing, how quickly it came back to me ... immediate and complete.
A couple of years ago, the interpreting started to make me think ... obviously, I can't do it full time. I couldn't do it dependably ... I can't depend on my health ..but maybe for an hour, here, there ..as a substitute? What if I got certified?
So, I checked into it. WHOOPS. Now, it is a degreed position. You have to have an associates degree. So, Don and I talked. Is it worth paying for a degree to do something that you know how to do ... to do something that you can't earn a living at, to do as almost a 'hobby' ... it seems like a big risk if you don't think you can pay back the degree. (I also checked into seeing how many of the sign classes I could test out of to save on the cost of the degree ...zero, it's a tracked program, I'd have to take sign 1 ...uh, no thank you)
A year ago, a man who was deaf came to our church. They asked me to interpret. I, told him it'd been almost 17 years since I'd interpreted ... but I'd try. I sat in shock, as I interpreted that Sunday. My pastor can talk rather quickly and wildly ...and yet. I didn't loose any interpreters skills. I joke that I think in sign language. I must, more than I thought.
So, it still bugged me. I can still interpret. Well. I haven't lost a bit of my skill without using it in 17 years. I'd seen certified interpreters over the years and understood why everyone was pushing me as an 18 year old to get certified. I definitely could have passed the test.
Should I swallow the umph and take the sign classes I could teach. Should I pay the money I might not be able to earn ..to get the certification I should have gotten ...
I go to the graduation tonight ..and 2 of the instructors are interpreting ... and I watch ... and I'm stunned.
I have my answer.
The number of mistakes made ... was absurd to say the least. My friend said she sat down there telling her friends that her friend was better than those two interpreters. She asked those that she was sitting with if they were student intpreters. No one knew. She knew by watching ... I'd done better at 17 years rusty.
So, I felt two very strong emotions tonight ... confirmation that I don't need to be paying for a degree that I can't earn to pay back ...to be taught by people who I know more than.
And regret ... that blasted regret for the decision I made at 19 ..for not listening to the wise counsel, for not believing in myself ... for not understanding that God doesn't call the equipped but equips the called and he'd equipped me.
I have my answer for what to do now. Especially with the tremors and joint pain. But the regret ... oh boy ...if you're young and reading this ...and someone tells you that you're good at something ..and to reach for the gold ring ... reach out ...grab it! The worst you can do is miss!
Dreams went to the back seat,
As life took on its own sad beat.
Running from here to there,
Everything overwhelms me with care,
Time takes it’s toll of life,
On top of pain comes the strife.
Dreaming seems too distant,
Reality tells me that I can’t,
Everything works against me,
Abba says “Time to look and see,
My heart I gave, so you could live,
Abundant life is my joy to give!”
Growing, changing every chance,
Alive again with dreams to dance,
In Christ, I live to share His hope,
No longer looking to self to cope!
© 2003 Peggikaye Eagler