Facebook reminded me the other day when I was debating what I wanted to write that on August 31, 2009, I attended my first day of college at the University of Vermont. That was 10 years ago, people. I am getting old. But, if I had a DeLorean and was able to go back in time to talk to my freshman self, I don’t know that I would believe everything that happened to me since then.
Here is a really quick rundown of what I do in any given week. This is probably more than you ever wanted to know about me, but I think it will prove my point.
Sunday: I still go to the same church I went to then, but there have been many favorable changes that have happened there in my opinion in the past 10 years. However, a lot of you know about my Wednesday night Bible study. Starting next week, we are going to be meeting on either Sunday or Monday depending on the week.
Let me tell you a little bit about this group. We have gone through a lot of changes over the past six years, and we are actually going through some changes right now, but this group of people has become some of my closest friends. We study the Bible together, but we also do other things together. We might go to a concert, celebrate a holiday or do something else. It is just a group of people I enjoy being with a lot. That did not exist 10 years ago.
Monday: Every other Monday night this semester I am taking my final PhD seminar. My PhD is going to be in Humanities. Freshman Zak went to the University of Vermont to study business. I graduated with degrees in Business Administration and Statistics. I have always loved reading and books, but if you had asked me what my doctorate was going to be in my freshman year, I would have undoubtedly said business. Even at the end of my undergraduate career, I was looking at graduate programs in business. I even started an MBA program for a semester before changing plans (more on that specific change later).
Tuesday: This specific Tuesday night, I am going to be putting the final touches on our fall issue of An Unexpected Journal. In my freshman year of college, I did not know what apologetics was as a discipline. Looking back on it, I did know some of the names like Ravi Zacharias or Lee Strobel. I knew a little bit about what it was, but I didn’t know that term.
I started to get interested in apologetics during my senior year of college because a friend of mine was asking tough questions about Christianity I did not know how to answer. With some of them, I could get by with just logic, but some of them required more specific answers, and I had to do my homework. What I found was remarkable. There were so many great resources that I did not even know existed.
I started to get more and more involved in the field, and I heard about a brand-new MA program at Houston Baptist University. Actually, the first person I told about my interest in that program was from my Bible study group mentioned above. He thought it was a great idea, and I went for it.
After graduating, a bunch of us realized we missed doing apologetics, so we created a journal. It has been wonderful. Freshman me would have had no idea what was. 10 years later me is so happy I have been able to work with such a great group of people.
Wednesday: I do not have Bible study on Wednesday anymore, so I guess it will just be a day of work. That said, I had no plans on becoming insurance underwriter. I was a business major, so I kind of knew what direction I was roughly going to proceed in, but I would have had no idea all the changes that I would go through in my first job.
For most people with disabilities, it is extraordinarily difficult to find employment. It was for me as well. Despite being at the top of my class, I got a grand total of one job offer. Maybe I’m just not very good at interviewing, but I’m not always convinced that was the only reason. The fact that I am able to maintain full-time employment is something I certainly do not take lightly.
Thursday: Normally on Thursday I get in the pool for physical therapy. It is not always on Thursday, but that is what we have done most consistently. 10 years ago, I would have had no idea that I would hopefully soon be receiving a treatment that might make a difference for people with Spinal Muscular Atrophy. I wrote about it a few weeks ago, but I am optimistic that maybe this treatment will at least help me maintain my muscle strength.
I have lived the majority of my life without any reasonable treatment on the horizon, and a decade ago, I would have had no idea that this would be coming now. I guess it is probably good that I didn’t know how long it would take, but it is interesting to think that it was not even a possibility back then.
Friday: Friday is pretty much grocery shopping night. It has been my entire life. Some things never change.
Saturday: We start our 2019-2020 power soccer season. It is hard to believe I started playing nine years ago, but when I started school as a freshman, I didn’t even know this sport existed. Since starting to play, I have played all around the United States and against teams from all around the world. I have made a lot of friends I never would have met otherwise, and it has definitely opened my eyes to a different part of the disability community that I literally did not know very much about. There are a lot of people like me even though there may not be a lot of people like me in my hometown.
Extending off of that, I was given the opportunity for several used to coach power soccer. I don’t do it anymore, but within the past 10 years, I had the opportunity to do something I had always wanted to do. I haven’t had the opportunity to coach any other sport yet, and maybe I will in the next 10 years, but it was still a great way for me to fulfill one of the goals I had set for myself.
I guess you can tell that the past 10 years have really been a lot different than anything I would have planned. I had no idea, and there were decisions I had to make along the way. I didn’t always know how they would work out. I still don’t know how some of them are ultimately going to work out. Kind of like David Copperfield, I am dealing with the vicissitudes of life, and I guess I always have been and always will be. That’s part of the joy of life after all.
I just couldn’t help but think that almost everything I do every week is different than anything I could have ever planned. It is kind of comforting to know that there is someone who knew the future, and even though I didn’t necessarily know what was about to happen, taking these opportunities turned out to be for my good. Could I have made other choices? Could the end result have been better? Sure. I guess it could have. We never know the results of the choices we do not make. What I do know is that someone has brought me where I am today, and I’m grateful for that.