Earlier today I posted a link on facebook about how Michael Farris of Patrick Henry College threatened to sue the the people behind the Queer at Patrick Henry College blog for copyright infringement for using the name “Patrick Henry College”. [Here’s where we pause for a moment while I say, COPYRIGHT LAW DOES NOT WORK LIKE THAT!!!!!!!111ONE!!!!!!!eleventy!!!!! phew, deep breath, now that’s out of my system we can go on]. Apparently somebody pointed out to Michael Farris that copyright law does not work like that, because he promptly withdrew the threat.
Anyway, Mike Farris landing in the news got me thinking about something I hadn’t thought about in a long time. Before he went and started a college that would let fundy homeschool parents feel safe about sending their kids off to a school that would keep the kids sheltered from the outside world, his claim to fame was starting the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). Back in the day when homeschooling was new, it may have been useful since nobody really had heard of homeschooling and school systems didn’t know what to do with homeschoolers, though I’m pretty skeptical that it’s actually still necessary in an era when ESPN is constantly bowing down and kissing Tim Tebow’s feet (Gator Nation, represent).
Back when I was in high school, HSLDA started an internship for recent high school graduates, and, since I wanted to be a lawyer and all (and being a good homeschooler), I applied for the internship my senior year of high school. I wasn’t accepted to their intern program, which I was really disappointed about at the time, since that was part of my plan to build connections to get to my eventual career goal of working for a big name right wing organization. The Patrick Henry College story got me thinking about where I would be today if I had gotten the HSLDA internship and started on my way to becoming a professional conservative.
The life I had planned out for myself as a teenager is one that I would hate now. I try to imagine what my life would be like today if things had worked out the way I’d wanted and it churns my stomach just to think about it. If everything had gone as I planned back then, I’d be a walking, talking cliche of the closeted right winger. I’d be miserable and even though it was the life I thought I wanted when I was 18, at 32 I’m so happy that it’s not my life. Apart from the fact that my law school finals are contributing massively to my stress level right now, the truth is I’m quite happy with my life. I like my life, I like who I am, and I wouldn’t want to change anything about where I am or who I am. Even though my life today is very different than what I thought it would be at 18. Especially because my life today is very different than what I thought it would be a 18. Mike Farris threatening to sue queer Patrick Henry College alumni and students for having the nerve to run a blog talking about being queer at PHC brought it home to me again just how much of a bullet I dodged.
As a Calvinist who believes in the sovereignty of God, this is yet another reminder of how God works things out in ways that you couldn’t have imagined. Back at 18, I wondered why God wasn’t causing things to work out the way I wanted them to. Turns out that even though it seemed pretty lousy at the time, keeping me from heading down that path was the best thing that could have happened to me long-term. At 18, there was no way I was ready to accept the life I have now, but God, in his sovereignty, still steered me away from a life that he knew wasn’t what was best for me. If you were to ask me why I’m so sure that where I am today is where God wants me to be, it’s because there’s no way this would have been the life I’d planned—it wasn’t the life I’d planned—but there are a million little things that I can look back on to see how God was orchestrating events to bring me to where I am today. And it’s great and not something I’d change even if I could because why would I change the life that God gave me?