Path of Discovery
It's so funny how God works. Sometimes He does a “suddenly.” Other times it takes years for Him to bring His plans to fruition. Or maybe it just takes years for me to catch on to what He's doing. Yeah, that's probably it.
So, we've been doing a lot of reading lately. Well, it started with a lot of praying and God put some excellent material in our hands. All the praying and reading was for wisdom and understanding to raise our son in the very best way that we can. We wanted to be able to understand just how a gifted child ticks. But God seemed to have something else up His sleeve, as He so often does when I'm so sure that I know what I'd like Him to do for me. And as usual, I was a little slow in catching on.
During the last few years, since I stopped using aspartame, MSG and most all other food additives and preservatives, I've been fairly preoccupied with getting as well as I can so I can live as normal a life as I can. I didn't realize that I had gotten into the habit of being miserable. After all, nearly fifteen years of being terribly sick will take their toll. But then it dawned on me that maybe I didn't have to be miserable anymore. I also began to understand that the key to understanding how God had wired me was going to be in understanding how God had wired our son.
With every article I read, every book I picked apart trying to understand as much as I could about gifted children, I found that God was unlocking some truths about me and the experiences I had as a child. Way back in the 60's and 70's, when I was going through school, I don't believe there was much in the way of special programs in school for gifted children. Yes, I remember getting tested in grade school and having the option of skipping two grades. My parents decided against that and I went on my merry way, not really understanding what all the fuss was about - but that didn't last long. I soon realized that I caught on to things quickly and didn't seem to have to work as hard as my friends to get my school work done. (To this day I don't know how to study because I never had to really study in school.) I also realized that my being different didn't make me popular at all.
I learned very quickly that if I wanted to keep my friends I'd have to “play dumb.” That all changed in junior high school I had my first science class. I fell in love with it and I couldn't help but show it. I was also accelerated a grade in math, so that was one more difference between me and my classmates. Before long I was down to a hand-full of female friends. The boys, on the other hand, were fast becoming my friends. Well, the science boys, anyway. I was just one of the guys - not exactly what a young lady is shooting for, but I didn't care. To add another notch on my “geek belt,” I became the first girl to join the model rocket club but I really didn't care. It was wonderful fun!
Unfortunately my happiness didn't last too long. Girls being the catty creatures they are, my life soon became less than pleasant. The only thing I knew to do was to reign in my enthusiasm for academics. My giftedness was definitely not an asset by any stretch of the imagination - at least not that I could see. Looking back I can honestly say that it is only by the grace of God that my life didn't go down the toilet at that point. Many of my friends were involved with drugs and sex, but I was terrified of both. I ended up spending a lot of time thinking and praying, reading and playing my cello.
During the remainder of my school years I can honestly say that the biggest lesson I learned was that you have to do everything possible to fit in, because if you don't, you'll get eaten alive. I graduated high school a semester early and moved on to junior college.
When I was attending community college with an eye to major in astrophysics, my life took an unexpected turn in the form of my first husband. Because of the era in which I grew up, I was very much influenced to drop out of school and get married, so I did. The three and a half years that followed were by far the worst that I have ever experienced. One good thing did come out of that relationship though - my current husband of twenty years, and subsequently our beautiful son.
Because of the abuse that I suffered during my first marriage, my need for survival kicked into high gear causing me to further suppress who I really was, giftedness and all. Even after my divorce and second marriage I continued to live my life by the rules I had learned to that point - act normally and don't let anyone know that you have any sort of giftedness whatsoever. I think it worked pretty well for me for quite sometime, although I can't say that I was ever very happy. (Hey, you wouldn't be happy either if you were shoving the real you down all the time.) I didn't realize it, but as time went on my survival skills were becoming less and less adequate and I was becoming more and more miserable. Now, let's fast forward about 20 years. Yes, I said 20 years.
Now that our son is five, my husband and I have been learning quite a bit, not only our son, but about ourselves as well. I must admit that each time I read another article about gifted children, or better yet gifted adults, I feel as though God tears away another veil from my eyes and I am able to see myself - my true self - a little more clearly. It happened again just last night. Then this morning as my husband and I talked about the new information and our new understanding, he looked at me and laughed. He said he had two of us to deal with. And without missing a beat I told him that he was just twice blessed! I honestly hope that when we get through all of this he'll really feel that way!
In my newfound understanding of me, I feel that I finally have permission to explore the things that I find challenging - learning how to play new instruments, throwing myself into my writing, going back to school, and, yes, homeschooling our son. I know that most people don't understand the drive that I feel, and I'm coming to understand that that's okay. I also understand that they aren't any less and I am not any better than they. We are each unique creations of God and He has made each of us just the way He wants us. I believe that it is in coming to terms with who He has made us and then living up to our full potential, regardless of what that potential is, is how we can truly honor God in this life. And if you only knew how long it has taken me to realize that, you'd know that you've just been made privy to a miracle!
I know that God's not nearly finished with me, and I look forward to the discoveries He has in store for me in the future. They aren't always easy to deal with, but in the end, if God is in it, it's worth it all.