Is it possible to let 12 million black people down?

Is it possible to let 12 million black people down? October 17, 2008


The black IVCF chapter at WMU
The black IVCF chapter at WMU

Okay, no.  But it feels like it.  Read on for understanding…

I’m pretty sure I got a C or D on one of my midterms today & I may have turned in today one of the most crap papers I’ve ever done.Ever.I’m about 90% for certain that I don’t have my identity wrapped up in being an “A” student, a “B” student or in just being a student.

So, the only reason I can figure out that school is affecting me this way is because now I have all these stupid hopes & crazy dreams wrapped up in actually getting a degree.Dreams like one day having a PhD. & being a respected (& read!) author and speaker.Dreams of making a big impact, somehow.You know like delivering all of the suffering people in the world, impacting all the students on all the campuses in MI, OH & PA.Stuff like that.Your basic world-changer stuff.

And getting a degree suddenly has been embodied in this one semester of full-timeness taking this nasty, redonkulously over busy form.Pictured, it looks stressed, weary, tired, pulled in a lot of directions & helplessly depressed.Not a pretty picture, right?Now add 5 years.Suddenly Mrs. Future Depression has bags under her sleepy eyes…. & she’s nursing too.She looks annoyed & regretful.

And so, I feel like a ½ failure.Not a whole one, just a half. I’ve given up in school.Gotten a little bit sick of it.Not so much even tired per se, but the “sick “part of the I’m-just-so-sick-and-doggone-tired-of…(you-fill-in-the-blank) phrase.  Almost like I don’t care if I fail my Greek midterm.  I want to care.  Does that count?

And on top of that, I have this GIANT sense of responsibility to God, to Dave for sacrificing for me to be here, to the AAUW b/c they are paying the bills, to InterVarsity for giving me this time off to study, but most of all to black people –the community I am called to serve.

And so failing out now or quitting feels like I’m letting all black people down.Yep, all 12 million of us in the U.S.because now everyone knows… & maybe even expects that I HAVE to make something of myself.I want nothing more than the mantle of leadership & influence.I long for it actually.(only recently coming to terms with this).I have to impact the black community or else what in the WORLD am I doing with my life????

However, it’s heavy.I’ve always known it’s heavy.Glitz & glam has never drawn me to take on more responsibility, but influence does.And I know I have a lot left to do.A lot more to say.A lot more to write.A lot more to give.But for some reason the enormous task of getting there feels like one million unreachable miles away with so many opportunities to fail I can’t even take the 1st step without wobbling all over the place.You, in fact, may all ready be sick of my wobbling, long, unassured blogs since school started.  And for some reason school has made my dreams BIGGER & more beautiful & hopeful even (yay!) but like 1,000 times scarier to approach.

I see this “quitting pattern” emerge in all sorts of other areas of my life and it’s one of those parts of my demeanor I don’t like.When things get tough… the tough get going?  Yes, that is how it actually ends.But for me, when things get tough, I get lazy, overwhelmed and in general tend to underperform.

I see this in me in marriage.I saw this in me when I ran a marathon & even when I ran a piddly half-marathon.I saw this when I did my undergrad degree.I see this in me in the woes of fund-development & I see it now.Any challenge is met first with I-CAN-do-this & second with an oh-forget-it-who-I-am-kidding-I-may-as-well-just-give-up-since-I’m-a-quitter-anyway type of attitude.

And then kind grace says:but you don’t quit anything.  Tell me, how can a person who doesn’t quit, be a quitter?You can do this, don’t give up!God is with you… and furthermore…

Mean grace interrupts: What do you know anyways?Fine, I won’t quit, but I refuse to put forth any sort of a valiant effort.Because, at the end of the day, we cannot do this.Your crazy you know that?You’re the one who always gets us in over our head!

Usually mean grace wins.

But determined grace keeps me going.

That’s all I’ve got tonight.Determination about the size of the period at the end of this sentence.

I’ve just left class where we studied Frederick Douglass & Booker T.Washington.  How could I possibly throw in the towel with such a great cloud of witnesses who have gone before me?  They fought for us.So, I will fight for us.  All 12 million of us!

I think.


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