Musing About…Answers

By Katie Easter

Hello, Forsyth Family friends, my name is Katie Easter. I am an adjunct English instructor in Davidson County and a friend of Tim Roberts. He invited me to share some thoughts with you this month.

When I was growing up, my family traveled with friends to Beech Mountain, North Carolina, every fall. We would spend the weekend shopping, eating and driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway. On one of these driving trips, Nikki, the youngest of our group and a toddler at the time, pointed to a mountain in the distance and asked what it was called. I believe it was Grandmother Mountain. Each time a member of the car responded with, “I think it’s Grandmother Mountain,” or the name of another mountain, Nikki would reply, “Nope.” Finally, someone said, “Well, Nikki, then what mountain is it?” In the precocious confidence of a toddler, Nikki replied, “I do not know.”

Nikki was curious about the mountain range, but she did not seem to be exceptionally bothered by the lack of answers. She didn’t know the name, but she thought she knew what it wasn’t (and it most definitely wasn’t Grandmother Mountain).

Whenever I travel through the Blue Ridge Mountains, I think about Nikki and the questions of life. Life often contains more questions than answers. Being made the way we are, we often seek desperately for answers. Sometimes, like Nikki, we aren’t sure what mountain we are facing, but we think we know what it’s not. Other times we have absolutely no clue as to what we are facing. This is a scary problem to face, but I have come to find that there is a certain beauty in the unknown.

As a child, I knew three things for certain:
1. Life at 16 would be sweet;
2. I would have everything figured out by the time I turned 21;
3. I would eventually live in a big, white house at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

The first two things were proven to be untrue. At 16, life felt awkward, frustrating and generally anything but sweet. At 21, I had graduated from college but had absolutely, positively no clue what I wanted to be when I grew up. Now, at 26, I am still holding out hope for the third.

I don’t know where my life is headed, but I do have some clue where it’s not. After spending three years on both the clerical and clinical side of the medical field, I know that is not where I want to spend the rest of my career. I loved the people that I worked with, but not so much the actual “work.” Last year, I found myself looking for a new job.

As an English Major, I was often asked if I wanted to become a teacher. My answer was always an indignant, “Nope!” Well, the joke is on me. After spending over 18 months applying to a variety of jobs without a single reply, I received an interview for an adjunct teaching position. As it turns out, I love to teach community college freshmen. Unfortunately, with the current declines in enrollment, my position is not a sure thing. Meaning that I have an answer for what I want to do, just not how I will do it.

As I grow and become one of the adults, I learn that very few (if any) actually know what they are doing or where they are headed. At first I found this frustrating, because if these people aren’t able to pull it together, it meant that I would never be able to get my life together. Then, after further thought, I felt relieved. Thank God, I don’t have to figure it out to be fully functional.

When life’s questions get to me and I feel like I am spinning out of control, I try to remember the words Jeremiah spoke to Israelites who felt much the same way. Jeremiah 29: 11 states, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (NIV). We may not have all of the answers right now, but that’s okay, because God does have a plan and He promises it is a good one.