This is my page for the Lucky Heartbreak Challenge I am hosting on The Digichick Blog about finding the silver lining in a heartbreaking experience. If you're interested I would love to invite you to come join the challenge. I think we've all suffered a heartbreak or two.
From the time I was 15 years old, I knew exactly what I wanted to be, how I wanted to spend my life. I knew exactly who I was and what I needed to do in order to achieve my well-planned goals. I wanted to be a fighter pilot and astronaut. I wanted to attend the US Air Force Academy and spend my career as an officer in the service of the United States.
I knew the competition would be fierce for one of the coveted spots. I rose through the ranks of the Civil Air Patrol - a breeding ground for future Air Force officers. I even got my student pilot's license. I spent the next three years of my life studying advanced subjects in high school and honing my leadership skills in various youth organizations. I excelled in almost everything I did. I spent hundreds of dollars of my parents hard-earned money, their patience and time, meeting every requirement and jumping through every hoop thrown at me. And still the AFA didn't want me.
I was heart-broken. I was crushed. I was shattered. I was lost. For the first time in my life I was absolutely lost. I didn't know what I did wrong. I didn't know what to do from then. I didn't know how to live.
I spent a year studying Aerospace Engineering at nearby university, I even joined the ROTC for awhile. But I'd already lost my heart. That wasn't the path I'd worked so hard for and I couldn't see my goals materializing any more. So I gave it all up.
I still had no clue what I wanted to do and ended up wandering around in my studies for awhile. I had a couple of very hard years in university. Studying used to be easy. Relationships easy. Getting what I wanted, easy. Not anymore. It wasn't that the level of difficulty had changed, it was my broken spirit. University was the first time I rebelled against my parents. And being so lost inside, I made some very bad and damaging decisions.
But like most broken hearts, mine slowly mended. I could find a new direction, set a new goal. It wasn't nearly as exciting as traveling to space, but at least it would let me travel somewhere, someday. I decided on International Business.
Once I had made up my mind, I was able to graduate in three years. Eventually I did an internship for my state's International Trade Office and was even offered a job there -- as an administrative assistant. Needless to say, I turned it down. I wouldn't settle for NO this time. I was going to find a way to blaze my trail.
Within two weeks I was offered a teaching job in Japan and a few weeks after that was on a plane to Tokyo. It all happened so quickly. It wasn't exactly the big international career that I had envisioned, but it was a start. It was a foot in the door -- or out the door as the case may be.
I had planned on staying in Japan only one year, returning to America and getting a job at some international firm that would take me around the world. Another option I was considering s to join the Peace Corps. Either way I would still be seeing the world. No longer would I let my life be centered around a single option. No longer would I let rejection throw me into a pit of despair. I had survived and I planned to live fully after that.
Fast forward to today. A few years ago a scandal broke about severe hazing and sexual harassment at the military academies. Many of the crimes occurred during the years that I would have been there had I been accepted. I can look back on it all now and see that in a way I was lucky. I can't assume that I would have been a target of the crimes, but I have to consider that God allowed me the heartbreak of not getting accepted instead of a bigger devastation that could have been. I will never know.
My plans to return home or join the Peace Corps never realized because I ended up extending my contract term in Japan, and during that time I met and fell in love with a local man. It was no easy decision to marry him and thereby agree to stay in Japan for an undetermined length of time. I knew I would be giving up some of my goals to see more of the world. But I made that decision and I don't regret it.
I know that my life is still an open book to be written. I know there will be sudden change and heartbreak. But I know that only God is in control of my days and I trust that he is leading me on this journey. I believe that he is molding me with every twist and turn. And I know that I am stronger.