Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Walking another path...for a while

As you can tell from my entries up to this point, I've been pretty focused on one thing - helping my sister Sue and her husband Jeff get moved out of their 2-story house and into their new 1-floor condo. That mission ended Sunday night, but it allowed me some focus away from other things in my life. But those things came back with a vengeance yesterday.

As I walked to the parking garage to go to work yesterday morning, I noticed two people walking about a block ahead of me. As I focused in on them, I realized it was my friend Lisa, walking with a fellow who had been in my "seminary sampler weekend" group almost two years ago. He'd said at the time that he'd be coming to school at LSTC for the 2004 school year. And, in fact, here he was.

They were going to the start-of-school orientation.

And I wasn't.

I never thought that simple things like that could hurt so bad. But in that one flash of realization, all the hurt, and disappointment, and "all right, God, what NOW?" sentiments just came crashing back. I was glad for both of them - hell, I'm glad for all my fellow students who are returning.

I just wish it could be me. And I wish that in the last 5 months, God would have either shown me a way to make that happen, or given me a full-time job that would let me leave this place and set aside (at least for a time) the dreams of ordained ministry. But neither one of those things has happened. And that really honked me off, at times. Like it did yesterday morning.

Strange thing - at that point, I couldn't even pray. Not even something simple like, "God, give me some relief from this." The only thing I could do is what I do best - I reached out to some spiritual anchors, and share with them what was going on. My friend Sandy - who's been an anchor for this whole roller-coaster year, and much before that - listened, gave me the appropriate "there-there, Steve," and then reminded me of what I know to be true:

1) God hasn't dropped me yet - even though it may feel like it at times.
2) God can use even broken tools - as well as the ones rejected by the world.
3) I have been taken care of by loving, caring people who have carried me when I could not walk my own road.
4) The question I have to continue to ask is not "why" (because that no longer matters) but "what."

My friend Mike M. reminded me that we know lots of folks - even sober ones - who are going through lots worse kinds of stuff, and that we both are blessed, even though we both are struggling in similar ways. And he reminded me that my number one job was to find out how I am to be of maximum service to God and my fellow humans - and the rest would follow.

So I suited up and showed up at work...and it wasn't the best day, because of a number of things unrelated to my own angst - but it was a good one, nonetheless, because I was at least able to be of service to my employer, and to the people there at the Conservatory.

Whatever the road is, I'm not sure how far I can see down it. I'm not sure how long this temporary assignment I'm on will last, and nothing else is on the immediate horizon. For now, I have to get ready to head out of town yet again - this time, for the sobriety celebration and wedding of a guy I sponsored in Kansas City. So I will be away from this box for a bit - although I may be able to get connected from there, if I can get the laptop stuff together in time. That, for now, appears to be the "next right thing" in whatever path God has for me. So I'm gonna give thanks for waking up, as my friend Bob L. would say, "sunny-side-up, suckin' air & sober."

God of both power and love, grant guidance and comfort to your servant, that I might be reminded constantly of your love and your presence...and then go out into the world and live like I believe it. Amen.

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