This post is a follow up to yesterday’s post. The purpose of these posts are twofold. First, it allows me to explain my path over the past 7 years. I’ve had this discussion with many people and I myself have often wondered what’s next. Secondly, I find it beneficial to look at my personal history. Seeing how God has led helps me trust more fully in His current, ongoing provision. Maybe in some small way, my own story can help you trust God with your story.
One day, shortly after I began teaching school, I got to thinking about the things I research in my spare time. Going through my mental rolodex, I realized sustainable agriculture and other food ideas were the things I researched in my spare time. The first thing that came to mind was a book I had read. My friends from Belleville, Pennsylvania had introduced me to Michael Pollan’s book The Omnivore’s Dilemma and I thoroughly enjoyed reading Pollan’s take on the state of America’s diet.
That was the first thing I thought of that day but it wasn’t the only thing. I sat there, thinking further. During the recent recession, our family delivered honey to a local chain of grocery stores. There is a certain, early morning camaraderie that exists among the various vendors and delivery drivers who supply food stores. From time to time the discussion would circle around to the economy and if it was affecting sales. The snack food companies, with their preserved cheap calories, did not see a visible slump. (Bear in mind this is what we observed on a ground level. Actual numbers might reveal another story.) Thinking about this revealed something to me. It doesn’t matter what the economy is doing or in which country, people will have to eat. To use the phrase of a neighbor of mine, “People wake up hungry.” Add this to the things that are certain in life: death, taxes, and hunger.
Taking these interests in sustainable agriculture and food being a relatively recession-proof industry and add another factor: the involvement of my extended family in food and business. The majority of my mom’s siblings are in the food business either in manufacturing and wholesale or in retail; maybe even in both! Wrap these three things altogether and it seemed clear what I should study: the business of food. And out of those three colleges that I had been accepted to, only Bluffton had a Food and Nutrition program. And one by one, those items on my personal checklist for college were met. There was one catch; I was still teaching school. I had told the school board that I was seriously considering college and that I most likely would only teach for one year. But what a year it was! One big memory I treasure from this year was the music I was blessed to be involved in. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed that year (a big THANKS! to anyone from there who might happen to read this). So many interactions with a lot of great people. It made it difficult thinking of not returning as a teacher, but I felt now was the time to finish my degree. So, after another European choir tour, off to Bluffton, Ohio and Bluffton University I went as a student.
It is now early in my second year, and I anticipate graduating next spring. Where and what my initial career field will be, I don’t know. However as an Anabaptist I want to pursue a career or a business that ties community, faith, stewardship, and helping the impoverished together in a business model. Again, I don’t know what shape that will take but I trust God can work through my dreams and make them reality. I’m excited to complete this year, and with heart-in-my-throat trepidation, I look forward to stepping out of the tunnel of these vagabond years.
Ignite the discussion,