Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Turbulent Victory, pt. 1

Lots of thoughts running through my head, still, as alluded to in my earlier “Running Mad” post. It’s been, to coin a phrase, an exhaustively thoughtful month. [I often feel like I have about 4 different trains of thought going on at once, so this isn't that unusual for me!] Mostly I’ve been seeking clarity. This will surprise no one who knows me, and will probably exasperate many of them – as I seem to have infinite capacity for reflection and rereflection and rerereflection (to coin more terms).

By clarity I mean, most basically, clarity about my job situation. But…and again, this will exasperate the more practical-minded among you (hi Dad!)…but on a more fundamental level, I mean that I am seeking clarity about…geez…about all of it, everything. Not just a job, but a vocation; not just looking for work to do, but for good to do; making a life more than making a living.

Not that I haven’t been doing that, or you and the rest of the world haven’t been doing that…it’s just that I obsess about it more. :)

But seriously, the layoff (Thanks Heartland – love ya, really.) and concomitant job search make this a natural transition time. I have to consider not just changing companies but changing careers and where I live, with all the personal and relational upheaval that follows this stuff. (Thanks again Heartland – really.)

Well, I suppose I don’t *have* to do all that. I could just look for another hospice chaplain job, surely I’d find something (there are more than 22 in Columbia by last count – 5-6 years ago, there were about 5). Even if it were just part-time to start, I’d make as much as I’m doing with unemployment, and could and can supplement with other work, whether it be music or waitering, delivering pizzas or telebanking, temp work or…whatever. I could do that, and in the meantime, I could keep working with the students at USC, stay near friends and family, stay in a community where I have roots.

I could stay at my church. My wonderful church took a year and a half to find, and despite being composed of human beings and thus being necessarily flawed (sometimes exasperating – like me), is a great place. It’s a warm community, a place of authenticity and commitment, a place fitfully but definitely trying to learn how to be missional and transformative. That ain’t all that common, folks. It’s a place I can serve, and a place that’s helping me be a better person and a better disciple of Jesus.

So I could stay. I like where I live, I like what I’ve been doing. There’s no dissatisfaction driving me out.

Except that there is, and the truth is, I was “in transition” long before this layoff came down the pike.

But that's for part two...

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