Thursday, September 7, 2006

Seeing God - is Hindsight the only Way?

This is not a new topic for me, evidenced here, but as I close out this homeless count business and reflect - it can't help but come up.

Last year in, oh February, March even?, I was at a crossroads and trying to figure out what I really wanted to do with life, vocationally. I discovered the RMPA program at CU-Denver and my intrigue went through the roof. After all, here is a program with focuses in 1.) local government, and 2.) non-profit orgs. Seeing how I work in both worlds (job description here) I thought it would be perfect....And the City has a tuition assistance program, so it would be doable, right?

I took the GRE, (oh, and by the way, if you ever get to feeling too big for your britches, this 4 hour long test in a very user unfriendly modality will take you down a few of the necessary pegs....and more) and when the computer showed my scores (540 verbal 560 math), I burst into tears. On a 1600 point scale, much like the old SAT - on which I'd scored somewhere in the mid 1400s, I hadn't even gotten a 75%! Now I know that standardized tests don't work that way, and instead go by percentiles of score clusters. But, still!

Silly me, though. After talking to the school contact for the program, I was assured that not only did I not waste the $150 to take the test, I would in fact be an "asset to the program," given my work experience/status.

So, I collected everything, letters of recommendation, official transcripts from CSU, etc. and submitted my application. The only thing I didn't have was the $50 application fee - but, I told myself, I'd get that in before the deadline. Or not. And what's worse, is I can't exactly put my finger on why we didn't scrounge up the $50. But life goes on.

Then, last October, was the healthcare crisis mentioned above - which sent me searching for gainful employment, with affordable healthcare. Despite several positions I went after that everyone was sure I was perfect for, none offered anything. And, oh, how I cried.

You see, I'd lost sight of the faith I had that God would hear my prayers to "match me with the job God had planned for me."

But, as I sit on the tail end of this project, it all becomes so clear - as it often does when the here and the now aren't in the middle, mucking up the picture. I wrote this in an e-mail yesterday to sum it up:

This project reminded me of how much I missed direct involvement with
the community – as so much of what I do now is paper pushing. I’ve been
eyeing the Online MPA program at UCD for about 18 mos now – it’s thru the GSPA, and when I found out their involvement with the project, I took that as a
sign. I took the GRE last May, anticipating fall 2005 enrollment, but
something held me back (I turned all but the $50 application fee in).
Then, in October, when the City changed health insurace policies, such that PT
employees with dependents basically had a mortgage payment deducted
for health insurance, I began seeking new employment - and searched to no
avail (despite several jobs everyone thought I'd be perfect for) In hindsight,
had I been taking classes and working PT (as I intend to keep doing) I would
never have accepted the coordinator position and would not have been
involved. And again, had I gotten a job somewhere else, I never would have
been involved. Funny when you can practically see the divine intervention
in hindsight but not at all in the moment, eh?

To say I know exactly what the next steps are would be not only arrogant of me, but pretty false too. I did contact the school today to reacquaint myself - and discovered that the spring admission deadline is Oct. 15th. The woman who'd taken over the program seemed extremely interested, and more than accommodating.

I don't know what exactly is in store, but here's what I told the school:

Nevertheless, through the process, [of the homeless count] I rediscovered the barriers and redundancies in “the system” of public and human service agencies – which was, coincidentally, why I left the direct services field in the first place – not because of the “clients” but because of the bureaucracy.
I have a vision, a vision that includes a better place for all of my community members, not just those who are economically privileged. But, it requires change.
Change in times of budget cuts and economic hardship is hard to implement – but
I think the change I envision (more cooperation and collaboration) is more cost
effective in the long run – not to mention likely to have better success rates
among service recipients.

Just keep praying - will ya?

In the meantime, check out this nice message, sent to me from the Colorado Division of Housing:

August 31, 2006
Dear Heather,
What can I say?!! You were the vanguard of this
homeless count - leading the way for all counties! Your diligence,
participation, questions, media releases, and promotion of the count were
critical to all of us.
Thanks for all of your time and attention to detail.
Thanks for your patience and persistence. Most of all, thanks for your
Best Regards,
Awww, she made my day, for sure. I wasn't sure if I was being a thorn in the State's side (I was very vocal on the wording of the survey instrument, inclusion of those in permanent supportive housing for homeless persons in the "homeless" umbrella, and other things) or if it would be appreciated.

Apparently, for this woman anyway, it was the latter.


  1. That is really awesome HAMster.... I am really at awe with you and glad I can call you my friend.

    YOU ROCK GIRL! I am still praying :)