There is an interstate beltway that goes around the city in which I live. One particular off-ramp always amuses me. Getting off onto one of the main North-South drags, this particular ramp has two right hand turn lanes, and of course a traffic light. The amusing part is the turning lane that is the farthest right. If a driver is turning right, clearly displayed in his or her field of vision is a sign that says “NO RIGHT TURN ON RED”. When I am at this particular intersection, I am typically in the other lane, so I like to play a guessing game in my head whether or not the person at the front of the other line is going to turn right on red. About half the time I guess that they will, and more often than not, I am right.
I don’t think, however, that they consciously see the sign and disregard it. In our busy lives it seems easy to see signs right in front of us, maybe even recognize what they say, but somehow they don’t register. Last year Lovely Wife went on a trip for work leaving me home with the kiddos. I noticed that Little Guy, who was right around 2 at the time, seemed to be scratching his head quite a bit. Finally one evening, I called Lovely Wife and told her that I thought he had lice. I looked at his hair and saw little specks. Not knowing what nits looked like, Lovely Wife convinced me that it was OK (I am not blaming her, by the way). The next day it seemed to be worse. This time when I looked there I saw not only the “specks” but definite bugs as well. After a lot of shampooing, spraying, and vacuuming, we also decided to give him a haircut. Between his newly shorn head and my folically challenged one, we really did look like a real life version of Dr. Evil and Mini-Me.
Sometimes the sings aren’t as obvious, or don’t have immediate meaning. After meeting my birth mother, it seems amazing to me (and to her, I think) that we have lived our lives travelling along on parallel lines. Perhaps maybe they even crossed in the past in ways we didn’t even know. My brother and I were for a short time on the same college campus, for example. I wonder now if we ever crossed paths and never realized it. Being a man of great (if perhaps unconventional) faith, I can only ascribe the events leading up to finding her identity to Divine Providence. Until that time, my beliefs were somewhat deist in nature. I believed in God, but didn’t think he was active in my everyday life. Now I saw the signs sprinkled throughout my life. When I still hadn’t decided whether I was going to contact her or not, the signs changed from being a tap on the shoulder to a slap in the face with a 2×4.
And yet I am still learning to recognize signs in my life. Yesterday Lovely Wife helped me really come to the realization that I need to do what is in my heart, what I am meant to do. Her case was bolstered by me recently reading Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul by John Eldridge. Eldridge believes that most men don’t follow what is in their heart, and as a result are bored or disheartened. I highly recommend it for all men, whether you are a believer or not.
Last night I finally accepted that I am a writer and a teacher. With my Master’s degree, I can qualify to be an adjunct professor at one of the several local institutions of higher learning. That will allow me to do my part to help pay the bills, and it will also allow me to follow my true heart. As of today, I can refer to myself as a writer.