Thursday, October 24, 2013

Special Collections Graduate Assistant: Humanity

I think maybe I am getting old enough for things to come full circle. Do you 20+ year old people experience this phenomena often? For some reason, my most recent move to Lexington has proved to be almost entirely retrospective, reflecting on many seemingly meaningless happenings of my past. Not that a Bachelor's degree is meaningless, it just did not mean a whole lot to me when I got it.

When I graduated from KCU with a Bachelor's degree in Humanities, I had no idea what I was going to be when I grew up. I mean, hello, what ARE humanities? The humanities are academic disciplines that study human culture, using methods that are primarily analytical,critical, or speculative, and have a significant historical element—as distinguished from the mainly empirical approaches of the natural sciences.(Wikipedia). Yeah, riiiiiight.

 I accepted a shelver position at Bloomington Public Library and thus I started my journey. I only applied for this job because of my experience working in Young Library at KCU. After I experienced the enlightenment of 2010-2011 and decided to get my Master's in Library Sciences, I journeyed to Lexington.

During this time, I often asked myself what was the point of KCU? Of course I met some of my favorite people in the world there, but I also chose that school for their nursing program... Hmmm. 4 years, Humanities degree, in the foothills of Appalachia. No idea why.

Fast forward 2 years, and 3 ALDIs later I am back in Lexington and the things that just make sense are baffling. I am working in the Lexington Public Library System as a library assistant. I had interviewed for a page position when I lived here before and didn't get it. 5 years library experience, and they wouldn't let me be a page? Really? The full circle here is, I interviewed for my current job via Skype while I was still living in Illinois. I had the job BEFORE I even arrived. Talk about timing. (God, you are funny, heh...) I now know that working as a page at that particular branch is not where I need to be. My library is awesome. Best co-workers in the system, no contest. Networking, experience, knowledge as an LA, invaluable.

As if it could ever get any better. (Its too good now.) ALDI was awesome to transfer me all over the Midwest as I moved, but I was feeling a push to get out. Actually it was more like a punch to the gut, but that's neither here nor there. Just water under the bridge, I always say. I applied for a graduate assistant position at UK to work in the Special Collections Library. It was open to any graduate student, but I thought since I am library sciences, I would have a better shot. After all, we are each other's people. The position was working on a project entitled, "Immigrants to Appalachia." Appalachia you say? Oh, yes. I've heard of the region.

After accepting the grad assistant position, (Yeah!) I am experiencing circles that I didn't even know would become round. I never dreamed Appalachia and I would meet again other than the occasional visit, now I meet her weekly. I am listening to and indexing interviews with immigrants who migrated to Appalachia to work in the coal mines. I am becoming invested in these people, their families, their lives, their... humanity. What was that? I thought you said humanity? Interesting, I actually have a Bachelor's degree in Humanities from a university in Appalachia.

Of course this isn't a huge life-altering realization, but it IS relieving. Its like putting another piece in the puzzle of life spread out on a card table taking up all that space in your living room (You know who you are.) I like it when my puzzle looks more like the one on the box; the one Jesus put together.

Now if God would just finish this puzzle thing for me so I'm not up all night, or just staring at these pieces trying to figure out how they go together. If he would do it,  I could trust him better, right? Isn't that how it works? You scratch my back, and I believe in you more. Unfortunately, that's a battle I fight daily. I know I am not alone.

This makes me think of Proverbs 19:21, Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails. When I looked up that verse, I noticed that the verse preceding is certainly relevant as well. v 20, Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. Accept discipline. Oh, okay.  The LORD's purpose. Well if the small pieces are any indication of the LORD's purpose then it might be pretty fantastic.