A motif addressed in An Operator’s Daughter, parts I through III, is the concept that things in our lives happen for a reason. It is a concept I have struggled with personally my entire life.
Sometimes I feel I am lacking the faith gene; like my main character, Ashton McAllister, I struggle with faith, whether it is in a higher power or in those around me. I learn from my experiences, and those experiences have led me to go about things cautiously.
This week marks my first year anniversary working as a military contractor at the Stone Education Center on Joint Base Lewis McChord. To begin, it took a leap of faith to put myself up for a position as a substitute instructor in their Basic Skills Education Program—teaching math skills. My subject endorsements are English and Social Studies. Math has never been a strong subject for me. I’ll admit that once I understood those were the skills, I would be primarily teaching, I hit the Internet, YouTube videos, in particular, to recall what I had learned during elementary, middle school, and high school math classes.
As human beings, we learn through our experiences, through trial and error—none of us wish to make too many errors—and through repetition. Doing things correctly, over and over, inscribes those skills on our brains. It was how I was taught, and learned, those basic math skills to begin with and I am grateful for that repetition because those patterns came back to me fairly quickly and I could then instructor the soldiers who were enrolled in the program to increase their own GT scores leading to expanded opportunities for career growth.
That leap of faith on my part took a great deal of courage. I had been beaten down not only by being harassed out of a teaching career I loved and putting my heart and soul into making a difference, but then faced rejection and rejection as I looked for new employment. It hurts to get through the interview process, then being told you are exactly what they were hoping to hire, then have the reference check tank everything—and this happened repeatedly. When the offer of employment finally came from my fabulous supervisor at Indtai, I pinched myself, waiting to hear it would be pulled back. I am ever so grateful it wasn’t.
The opportunities for professional and personal growth with this new employer have restored my faith in myself and those I have the privilege of working alongside. Having recently been moved into a role where I am giving briefings about benefits, counseling service members, their dependents, and veterans on educational opportunities, and even being given the opportunity to start a writing lab to provide support for those wishing to improve their skills while writing application essays, working through research papers, or even writing in Army-style, I feel blessed that I am now in a position where I can serve those who serve our nation.
But did all this happen for a reason? Did I have to go through the heartbreak of giving up my teaching position to land in a place where I am surrounded by the support of others, and those others truly appreciate the support they receive?
Do things, crappy things or happy things, happen for a reason?
I will continue to explore that concept through my serial fiction characters, having faith that others will find strength in the story. As I have written it, I am finding faith in myself.