God, why am I doing this?
Like most people, I've had my triumphs and my tribulations in my 51 years.
But from a very early age, I examined the circumstances of my life. On the one
hand, I was born a white, Protestant male in the most privileged and powerful
yet moral civilization ever on Earth. I was born at the dawn of the
technological age (I've been waiting all my life for the internet), where
information was at my beck and call. These advantages make me a member of a
group with potential unique in human history. On the other hand, my father
died when I was six, after having his first stroke at age 39 when I was four.
His inability to work and increasing mental deficiency, in a neighborhood
where I was the youngest out and about, opened me to a lot of ridicule from
other kids. My mother proceeded to remarry and be re-widowed two more times
over the next 13 years, enhancing her trend into mental illness and
alcoholism, which everyone in my family has (except me and my kids, thank
God). My brother was discovered to be a sexual predator. I broke my back when
I was twenty.
With the two hands of my life such a dichotomy, I wondered throughout
childhood what God had in mind for me. Then it occurred to me that God was
forging me with adversity to make me tough, then equipping me to be at this
pivot in history to do something extremely critical and important. When young
I thought it was to be a soldier, a valorous, but noble, American soldier. The
quagmire of Viet Nam made it clear that was not my venue.
Life happens while you're making plans, and I married and fathered children,
pursued a career, and became a Scout leader. I was about 8 years in as a
Scoutmaster, when one day I was sitting alone at a picnic table at summer
camp, watching my Troop do it's thing, and do it well. I seem to have a real
aptitude for Scoutmastering, probably because I love it so much. The old
thought came to me, what was I supposed to do with my life? Suddenly it was
revealed to me: This was what I was supposed to do with my life! My
calling was to be a Scout leader.
Now, I'm a little skeptical of anyone who tells me God speaks to them
personally (especially when they want money because of it), but one day,
sitting in the Scoutmaster's lounge at camp, about ten of us were having
honesty time. One SM said: "If it hadn't been for me becoming a
Scoutmaster, I'd be nothing but a drunk!" A few more similar comments
came forth from the group, and I decided to reveal my calling by God to be a
Scouter. To my complete surprise, everyone in the room nodded their heads in
understanding. They had all had the same experience!
Some days I wish God had called me to be a taste tester at Ben & Jerry's,
but whatta ya gonna do?
Mort Skipper, Scoutmaster,