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My life is great.
The people around me are great.
My job is great as jobs go.
My future is great.

I do struggle sometimes.

I’ve heard a dozen theories, a dozen solutions, and a dozen suggestions regarding how to fix the problems, but the problems still exist despite the solutions, because the underlying problem cannot be solved so easily.

Every morning between 6 and 8, I wake up with the sun, bright and early, and everything is wonderful. I go check the mail, or whatever I have determined to do in the morning, I go to work at 9:30, and I get off work at 6.

I live a relatively normal working-class life as an incoming college student. Get, up, do things, go to work, get off, do more things, sleep.

Through all of this, I am blessed and happy and excited. My life is great and promises to get better, and God is blessing me.

But I also have an Enemy to conquer.

I shall perhaps share more on this later, but right now, I want to share something entirely different than that which I had in mind when I began writing this post over a month ago.

I believe I shared the fact that I planned to join the Bryan College Martial Arts Academy. In preparation for this, I began working out with a small group at a local dojo here in the city on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

I have had a reluctance toward martial arts since the idea was first suggested and spent a considerable amount of effort trying to get out of it. But I eventually decided to put my best into it and to succeed regardless of my reluctance.

So, as I said, about two months before the semester was set to begin, I took the advice of my admissions counselor, Mrs. Wesolowski, and began to work out with a martial arts group in town, because one of the program directors from Bryan was also instructing that class, and the Academy at Bryan was paying for it so that I would have an opportunity to work during the summer and be prepared.

I did this every Tuesday and Thursday for three weeks, but the more I did the more I began not only to think martial arts was not something I would want to participate in but to know for certain that it was not.

Nevertheless, I determined, as I had stated earlier, to keep this to myself and do my very best, which, by the way, was fairly well. Several people told me that while I, like anyone, had plenty to learn, I was doing very well indeed for a beginner.

But then Samantha, one of the students who helped out with the Martial Arts Academy at Bryan approached me one night after practice, without knowing my internal feelings about martial arts that I had not shared with anyone on campus, and said that while I was doing well for a beginner, I needed to determine and be sure that I would 100% enjoy it not because I needed to, but because I wanted to.

I thought about this for a day and then asked Samantha about it the next evening. She said simply that the Academy needed committed students and that while my commitment to doing my best was great, it was not the same.

At the same instant, however, Jacob, one of the guys I lived with in the townhouse this summer said that because it was a scholarship that I needed in order to attend Bryan, I needed to continue making the best of it.

That night was very restless.

Jacob was right. The Martial arts scholarship was $1,250 for the year, and losing that scholarship would send me home. But on the other hand, Samantha was concerned that If I could not do well enough for the Academy, I would end up going home anyway.

So the next morning, I did what I always do when I hit dead ends at Bryan. I went to Mrs. Wesolowski’s office.

Apparently, not half an hour before I went to see her, she had been approached by David Holcomb, the director of the Academy, who expressed similar concerns about students in general as Samantha had shared with me specifically.

As a result, instead of saying that I would do fine, and to press forward, which she would totally have said before talking with David Holcomb, she told me that she would do some thinking and make a few calls, and that the coach for the men’s soccer team at Bryan College wanted someone to manage social media for the team. She wasn’t sure if the position was still open, but she would ask Coach Davidson.

Meanwhile, I talked to my mom, who was not at all happy with the idea of my not taking martial arts for any reason. So I dealt with an amplified internal conflict for the rest of that day and the next two while I waited to hear from Coach Davidson.

It was July 31st, a Monday, when Coach Davidson caught me leaving my dorm at the end of my lunch break. He told me that he wanted a student to manage social media marketing for the soccer team as he was not perfectly suited to do so, and that he could offer a $1500 scholarship for this, which was $250 higher than the martial arts scholarship. This would have excited me more, but I was still very nervous about telling my mom about this, so my jubilance was suppressed.

So, I went back to Mrs. Wesolowski’s office and told her the news. She, knowing my parents’ position on the topic, suggested that I sit in her office while she called and started the subject with my mom. She explained the conversation she had had with David Holcomb, and then the fact that she thought the soccer position was better suited for me.

My mom listened quietly to every word and then told me that she and my dad wanted me to take martial arts. Basically, this was not an option for me. My parents would not allow it.

We talked about it for a short time. Actually, it was mostly my mom and Mrs. Wesolowski that talked about it. I said a few things, but towards the beginning Mrs. Wesolowski give me a warning look and I was very careful what I said afterward. Basically, I was resigning myself to stay with martial arts.

The phone call ended with my mom saying that I was to talk to my dad and that if he gave his one hundred percent approval, then she would be okay with it. But I was to be sure and tell him—as she would also—that she was strongly against it.

My brain immediately doubted that I could ever get Dad’s full approval on something my mom was strongly against.

But when I explained the full situation and recounted the conversation to my dad, he thought about it for a few minutes, asked some questions, and then told me to be sure of two things: first, that the scholarship could be renewed every year, and second, that I would take some type of self-defense course or program. Under those conditions, he said, he would support the decision to switch.

I have never gotten past the feeling that I have disappointed my parents, and I still have this looming sense of their disapproval, but even David Holcomb, who I also spoke to in detail about the situation, agrees whole-heartedly that I should take the soccer opportunity. He said that he saw my effort, and that he was satisfied that, as I promised to him last fall, I had made my very best effort, and shown good judgement and foresight by taking Samantha’s advice.

My mom does not believe that I made every effort. I fear that she sees me as having quit something because it looked unpleasant or difficult. Mrs. Wesolowski, as well as a few other people I know and myself, see it as God having tested what I was willing to do, trying my faith, and then opening another door. The way I see it, martial arts was the door to Bryan, but not the path through it.

But my mom, I fear, has doubts, and so I really don’t know.

It is Thursday, August 17th. On Monday all of the freshmen arrive for Orientation, and classes begin on Wednesday. But somehow, I would not be surprised if God threw one more loophole in. Maybe it’s just His way of showing how He can solve problems and provide. Maybe He’s testing my faith, willingness, and perseverance. Maybe it’s both.

But His hand is obvious regardless.

This is the last of the Memoirs of a Future Bryan Lion. The story of my getting to Bryan is, I believe, complete. I am here now. I am a Bryan Lion.

God has walked me through valleys, moved mountains, parted seas, and broken down walls to bring me to this day. And He even sent me a pillar of fire and smoke to guide me through the wilderness of doubt and uncertainty. This person was always supporting me, always encouraging me, always having one more idea to bridge the gap of doubt and despair.

So if you see Mrs. Pat Wesolowski on earth or in Heaven, thank her for me, because she is the reason I am here, writing this story of God’s power, for you.

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