Taking Stock

Where do I go from here?

Anyone who reads my blog regularly (which is almost an oxymoron because there is nothing regular about the timing of this blog) knows that over the past few months I’ve went through a rather low point in my life.  Nothing seemed to be going right with me.  Job, school, health; it was all toxic.  I wrote about it in some detail in November, and several of you urged me to seek some counseling through this time.

And while I wanted to, and intended to heed your advice, counseling wasn’t really in the pocketbook with holiday season fast approaching.  So, still I languished through December.  I tried working through some of the problems, but my efforts were like orange trees in winter… fruitless.

As with every New Year, hope springs eternal.  With this new round of fresh hope, I vowed that this year was going to be better than the last.  There is no love lost for 2010.  But, the world in which we live seemed not to hear my assertion, or was just plain ignoring me.  So, I, figuratively, sat down and took stock of my situation, and I drew-up a new plan because nothing I was doing was working.

Now, I don’t know that I have have talked about my faith on here much before.  I am a born-again Christian.  While I haven’t been attending church regularly for some time, I have always carried on a running dialog with the Big Man, and I value His guidance.   That is until over these past few months.  After the debacle with General Manager position I was being hired for, we lost contact.  All along I prayed that His will be done in however that situation turned out, but in the end that is sometimes easier to say than to live.

As I’ve said before, that process really messed with my head.  To have that job in hand, only to watch it slip through my fingers, was more than I could take.  Our conversations became more and more infrequent, until they were non-existent.  During my soul-searching, that was the first thing I recognized — my spiritual life was as desolate as any other area of my life, maybe more so.  It was time to call the Big Man again.

Earlier this year, one of my very best friends, Mike, and I made a trip down to New Orleans to watch the Arkansas Razorbacks make their first trip to a BCS bowl in the Sugar Bowl.  (I know this might seem like an ADD moment for me, but bear with me and I’ll get to my point.)  While the result of the game was not what we would have hoped it would be, the trip was a blast.  It gave us a chance to reconnect and catch-up with each others lives.  When we were younger, there wouldn’t be a day that passed when we wouldn’t have talked to each other or been doing something together. But, over time Life has intervened and now we can go weeks without talking to each other, and even longer without getting to see each other.  But, somehow, we still remain close.  I discovered what that somehow is on our way home from New Orleans.  I told him that one of the things I like best about our relationship, is that no matter how long it has been since we talked, we always pick up like we just talked the day before.

That is how it is with the Big Man and me.  Because I always know He knows what is going on with me, no matter if I voice it to Him or not.  So, I took the first step toward recovery and mended my spiritual life.  Isn’t funny that when that part of you’re life is in order, everything else starts to fall into place?

Two weeks ago I found out that I am no longer eligible for financial aid at NWACC because I have attempted too many hours.  All those times I took a class and withdrew (or didn’t) finally came back to bite me in the ass.  There is an appeal process I can go through, but even then I might not be approved.  So, I was hanging around in Limbo about what to do.   I could go through with the appeal, but if i’m denied, then I’m stuck.  Another option would be for me to go ahead and transfer to the University of Arkansas early, but after my last semester of matriculation, I’m not sure I would even be accepted there now.  Even if I were, there is an underline issue that effects all of my college decisions.

My wife, Amy, will complete her Masters in Information Systems at the University of Arkansas this May.  She is beginning to look for jobs in her field across the nation, and although it might sound a bit greedy, we will probably follow the money where ever it might take us.  This, of course, weighs heavily on any choice I make about my educational future.  So, I took all these thoughts with me to bed on Thursday night, and had a discussion with the Big Man about them.

I woke-up earlier than I wanted to on Saturday morning, fixed myself some Spam and eggs (I’ll get to this in the next paragraph.  It’s my diet, not yours.), and sat down with my laptop to do some Facebooking and check my e-mail.  While reading one of my messages, I glanced at an ad in the right column of the page about a program at Full Sail University for their Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing for Entertainment.  I right clicked on it to open it up in another tab to look at it later.  When I did get to it, I was amazed at what I saw.  It was the answer to every problem I had in my scholastic career.  It is online classes, so I can do it wherever Amy’s career takes us.  It is a fully accredited college based in Winter Park, Florida, so I can use the financial aid that I had already been approved for, but was unable to use at NWACC.  It also alleviated some future concerns I had about the U of A’s Creative Writing program.  While their program is highly regarded, I was not looking forward to the amount of poetry that I would have to take to get a degree there.  Plus, there is always the school-work factor of trying to fit your school schedule and travel time to your work schedule.  I talked to an admissions advisor on Saturday, and I was sold; this is the program for me.  I have already begun the transfer process from NWACC to FSU.

The other thing that has seemed to fall into place since my initial reconciliation with the Big Man is my health.  My wife and I have begun a process to change our lifestyle.  We’re adding a workout regimen to our daily activities, and changing what we eat.  I have chose a low-carb diet (see I told you I would explain the Spam and eggs, and for the record, I love Spam.) which seems to work best for me to lose weight.

After taking stock of my life, and setting my priorities in line, I can honestly say I am the happiest I have been in five months.  I finally believe that I can see the end of this depression, and as long as I focus on the important things in life, the other stuff will work itself out.  In the end, I did see someone about my problems.  I sat down with the Great Counselor, and He helped me work through my issues.  Thanks, Big Man!


About Richard Howk

Fiction author with my first novel, Pariah, available December 2nd.
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