Five classes, 15 units, all As. This is only the second time in my life that I have achieved a 4.0 grade point average for a single semester. Although my first “straight A” semester in the fall of 2003 was special, of course, this one is more so. This one includes one more class or three more units and all but one class is considered “upper division.” In 2003, it was while attending a community college where all courses, by definition, are lower division.
When I told my father he said that he is no longer surprised by my success in school - even when that success is, by every academic measure, defined as “perfect,” or at least very close to it. It still surprises me, however. I honestly can’t figure it out - I’m not that good a student. I’m certainly no smarter now than I was when I was dumb. So what gives? What is even more amazing is my “lifetime” GPA. At one point, it was 0.7. That’s right, an F+. I have worked it up to a 3.0 - a feat I once believed impossible. Fortunately, graduation honors only reflect my coursework taken at Sacramento State. My cumulative GPA at Sac State is currently 3.8. Magna cum laude.
Could it be that honest effort and doing the work (even when I didn’t want to) was the difference? Can it be that simple? The answer is obvious in retrospect. Yes! But I can’t help feeling that there is something more to it; I can’t quite place my finger on it. Oh, sure, those who are familiar with my story know of the trauma and apparent inequities life has served my way. Also well documented in these pages are my many revelations and insight regarding my acceptance of life’s little and not-so-little challenges.
But none of that makes me unique. As bad as my "luck" has been, a great many have seen worse. And many of them have overcome far greater obstacles while others have not. Part of me wants to dwell in the past, wondering “what if,” and “if only” or “I wish I would have…” I could languish there forever. I don’t necessarily believe in destiny or divine intervention per se´, but it is difficult to look back at a random, chaotic and often traumatic series of events without also knowing that it had to be that way.
There are many, many unanswered… strike that, unanswerable questions. While it is easy for me to cite the dysfunction that my life was and extrapolate my isolated incident to equal “something more than chance,” I can equally make the opposite argument citing the lives of far more virtuous individuals than myself who were not so blessed. Is there more to it? I say there is, but I sure don’t know. Furthermore, I don’t believe anyone else has the hard evidence to know either. Certainly not the evidence I would need to be convinced.
Belief does not need to be couched in evidence. Indeed, the evidence is quite clear that there is no evidence to support a great many beliefs. And some beliefs are fully proven. That does not, however, lessen the real benefit or deficit from holding certain beliefs. There is virtue as well as vice derived from faith and often which is which can be confusing. If what I believe drives me to be productive, compassionate, motivated, patient, empathetic, honest, and any number of other positive characteristics, is that not a good thing? Conversely, if my faith drives me in the opposite direction, would that belief not be considered bad? And what about the vast number of people who lead honest, hard-working lives without the need for any particular faith whatsoever? Who’s right? Who’s wrong?
Who gets to go to Heaven (or it’s equivalent)? If I don’t, then Heaven loses a “straight A” student. I'm ok with that.