Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Days of sadness, days of wonder

I have been too long away from these pages. I have missed you all.

Today is a day of anger, and yet of joy. Like Gimli the Dwarf in Tolkein's The Two Towers, I am torn between such fury and such celebration that I might well burst.

The fury is three-fold. First, I am furious that this is the fourth anniversary of the war in Iraq. I want to dump everything I am doing for my employer and just go protest - chain myself to something, take some anarchist action. Three thousand lives irrevocably lost; five hundred billion dollars spent in useless destruction. Do you feel any safer today? Any more terrorism-proof? I sure as hell don't.

It makes me want to hit something.

Second, almost every indication at The Evil Empire is that they are preparing to "outsource" a significant number of jobs on our project, either to other teams doing similar actions or to our service bureaus in India. I'd say that I probably have no more than 2 months of employment left; perhaps much less. I am terrified (for myself, and for my family), and furious with myself for not seeing it sooner. What a freaking waste of life this last year has been. What an incredible sucker I have been, to allow this to happen to me.

The urge to hit something comes back, big time.

Third, I am once again reminded of how badly out-of-shape I am physically, and how little I have done to counteract that condition. Buying a new suit for interviewing was yet another reminder of how disconnected from reality I am about my health and my physical appearance. Once again, I am at the "I need to change everything right now" stage of the game, and I hate it.

None of that makes where I'm at a necessarily nice place to be.

Yet despite all that, some incredible blessings have come my way. The work I get to do with new people in sobriety has been incredibly frustrating, yet incredibly fulfilling. Every "ah-ha!" moment is an amazing gift of joy and bliss. It's not that I am some kind of hero for having been a part of this; I know better than that. But I cannot help but see the positive changes in certain lives... and that is worth everything that went before.

I've had the opportunity to share some of these writings with some people outside the traditional Christian community, and that has brought a great deal of blessing, as well. And I'm going to be spending some time away this weekend - first, visiting a DeMolay chapter with my friend Ted on Thursday night, and then at a recovery conference in Troy, MI through the weekend. So that's all good.

My brother-in-law is going back to work at the job that laid him off at Thanksgiving. While it's not the answer I would have prayed for him, it's better than four months of unemployment. And sister Sue is starting at a new employer, as a permanent employee (even though she will not have benefits for 3 months yet) - and so far it seems like a much less toxic situation than her previous attempt. So there is hope there, as well.

But perhaps the most incredible gift of affirmation came from my friend Tim B., a faith brother from Kansas. He recently sent me a CD of my former church's choir, and some incredible photography of the church at Easter and Christmas, and of landmarks from around Kansas City. Those, by themselves, were true blessings. But his hand-written note contained the greatest gift of all:
As my blog comment from the other day said, I truly believe God is using you and the talents He has given you to the fullest, and He wouldn't be able to use you as effectively after ordination.

I believe you are truly living God's will for your life. Do not discount yourself for a roadblock He purposefully placed in your life, so you would be better able to do His will. If you are the blessing to other's lives as you have been in mine, you are making a far greater difference than you know.
Thank you, God. And thank you, brother Tim. I needed to hear that, more than you know.

As the old story goes, I ain't where I wanna be; I ain't where I'm gonna be. But thank you Jesus, I ain't where I used to be. And for today, that's enough.


Im A Foto Nut said...

Dear Brother,

I have heard it said, that When God closes one door, he opens another. Unfortunately, it's usually Hell in the Hallway!

Our brother Joe, helped me to realise that it isn't our job to understand God's plan for our lives, or even to know what His plan is. Our job is to believe He will guide our lives and take care of us better than we ever could on our own. The only thing we need do is to believe in our hearts that He will, and it happens.

My life was liturally transformed by Matthew 21:21-22

Jesus replied, I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountian, Go, grow yourself into the sea, and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.

I now pray that God, in His wisdom guide my life, in such a way that I am able to richly bless others, and "allow" God to richly bless me. (without me getting in his way.) Since that time I have experience exponetial growth and blessing in my life, and I believe in the wake of my impending employement doom, I am about to experience another exponential surge of the Holy Spirit.

It is so freeing to "Let go, and Let God!"

I also pray, dear brother, these same things for you. Especially the ablility to see God's hand in your life, regardless of your current situation. Joe, calls those our "wilderness times." Look at Moses, he thought he was having wilderness times, but the whole time God was "training" him for far greater things.

I trust God loves you and wants what is truely best for you and your family. Only he knows what greater uses He has in store for you.

Michael said...

Hope you are taking care of the things that you can change -- self-care in its many manifestations: physical, emotional, spiritual, social...

I have had one of those "I need to hit SOMETHING and I need to hit it NOW" weeks, too. Hanging with people who can show me other options has proved helpful -- if not to me, it has helped the things I was tempted to hit.

wilsonian said...

You were missed too.

So good to hear that your b-i-l and sister have work. Takes some of the pressure off you.

Praying (whether you are laid off or not) that you find work that is rewarding and which uses your gifts... where you are appreciated and valued... and where you're able to grow in ways you hadn't thought possible.

Poor Mad Peter said...

Missed you, Steve man. And as you know, we almost never get what we want--but God is pretty good at getting us what we need.