I don’t miss feeling like everything I do is preparation.
In my form of Christianity, there was almost nothing in ‘this’ life that wasn’t some form of preparation, at least for the afterlife.
As a young girl, I took care of my little brothers. That is what I got for being the oldest, but I saw it as some divine plan. Later I worked for a Children and Youth program. Instead of 3 kids plus assorted neighbours and imaginary friends, I was in charge of groups of four to twenty kids with various needs.
That of course, was mere preparation for whatever I would do when I left university.
I took a hiatus and went to India. There I was in charge of teaching different classrooms. I had to watch all of the ~120 kids by myself whenever I took my class out for phys-ed.
(The school didn’t have real windows or even walls so when the other teachers saw me outside they sent out their classes to join me. Then when we had a school inspector all of the teachers actually showed up and we had too many teachers. One of the male teachers who had never lead a gym class was designated ‘gym teacher’.)
Every evening, I lead an hour of singing, stories, and praying. Usually I had a partner, but sometimes it was just me. It was on one of these occasions when I began to panic.
If watching over 100 kids was just preparation for ‘greater’ things, what was coming next!
I was really not capable of managing such large numbers of small children for long periods of time, how on earth could I do more? The children and teens in the youth program all had a dis-Ability of some sort. Was that God’s way of preparing me to raise my own child with dis-Abilities?
I’m sure most Christians don’t view everything in that way, but I had been encouraged to by well-meaning “think about what God has in store for you next” or “I wonder how God will use this in your life” comments as well as my own desperation to find eternal significance in the events I happened upon.
I did not admit to myself that I was responsible for what I chose to do. I waited for opportunities to come or leave and then gave God the credit. Since I hadn’t chosen what I did, that meant God chose it. If God did, then there was some cosmic reason. And I was left wondering what God would want me to do next.
What a relief to separate my experiences from the view that they were merely practice for what was next.
I no longer fear that God is going to force (aka bless) me with the responsibility of taking care of hundreds of children with various needs and abilities.
I can enjoy what I do for its own sake.