Friday, March 06, 2009

Not a record to be proud of

Twenty-nine days without a post.

Not a sign of spiritual or emotional solidity, to be sure. Which, I guess, is what a friend would call "the God's honest truth of the matter."

My blogging absence started with not feeling quite well - a winter cold that turned into a sinus infection, then into a series of bloody noses and all kinds of plague-like symptoms that even grossed me out, at times. Started right about the time I signed up for a year of YMCA membership - which really annoyed me, at times. Sadly, however, I literally was too exhausted to even care, most days.

And then the announcement that we've been afraid of for more than a year came out: The Evil Empire will be closing our office by December 31st, and will be outsourcing our operation to their operations in Mumbai, India. The original target for the "transition" was originally in the June-to-September timeframe. But our offshore operations ended up with a surplus of India folks who have "transitioned" from another team (one of our clients, a national department-store firm, went bankrupt and ceased operations in December).

So we are creating "standard operating procedures" or SOPs (euphemism for idiot-proof job guides at the "...and the monkey pushes the button..." level of detail), and have begun the process of actually training the men and women who will be taking our jobs. I wish that I could say that I have been a resentment-free, willing participant in this process, but I have found more than a couple days when it took every fiber in my being to walk from the bedroom to the kitchen and sign on to the network at The Empire. (Could I call this chapter in my life The Empire Strikes Back, I wonder?...)

Then, my sister and brother-in-law have been even sicker than I have been - having both the respiratory and gastro-intestinal varieties of plague. Jeff is still without a job - although Sue has been sending out resumes and doing what she can. But she has been struggling with her own health, and both the advancing symptoms of fibromyalgia and the ongoing financial burdens of the now-abandoned condo (keeping enough heat on to keep pipes from freezing has still cost them almost $200 a month in this bitterly cold winter).

We do not have winters like my Canadian brothers and sisters - not even like br'er Ben up in Lansing. But the consensus of the long-timers here is that this has been the longest stretch of below-freezing weather that northwest Ohio has had in many a long year (some would say back to the epic Blizzard of '78). That has probably contributed to my bear-in-a-cave syndrome. Being sick and cold and cranky is not a pretty combination, even in a man of great character. In a whiney, self-centered bear like me, it's not been pretty at all.

But there is still much to celebrate.

Chris started his new job at a local hobby center at the end of January, and is vastly happier with his days and nights than he ever was with The Spawn of Satan Hotel. He has had a couple dances with his someday-future dream job in Champaign, but a recent trip there basically told him that the dream will still be deferred a while longer. However, our relationship remains strong, and I still thank God that this wonderful guy is in my life.

After a long-ish drought, a young man has asked me to sponsor him in the recovery process, and that has loosened some of the spiritual logjam in my soul. (I was beginning to believe that somehow I'd lost whatever it was that was attractive in sobriety, and nobody "wanted what I had." Thankfully, that doesn't seem to be the case...)

I wish I could find a faith community in which I could feel comfortable; partly I have resisted because of Chris' Sunday schedule, but to be honest, I just don't want to get into it, right now. But as Ash Wednesday came and went, I have to admit to missing the sounds of the "Holden Evening Prayer" and being a part of a caring face-to-face community of believers.

The liturgical calendar says that it is Lent - but it seems like the Easter Vigil - somewhere between crucifixion and resurrection. A time of waiting, a time of not knowing the answers, hoping for recreation, for new life. And, for now, a time for "trudging the road" - even when it seems like it is covered with cold molasses.

One day at a time, one trudging step at a time, trusting that we are moving forward - even when we cannot see the way.


Peter said...

Yep. And I like the r/c Piper Cub model in the pic, Steve Man. Getting a major urge to loiter in a hobby shop, just like when I was a teen.

Your post reminds me of Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner, in which the cursed protagonist offers a spontaneous blessing to some creatures ("unawares"), and his torment is eased. I think that a blessing came to you in yours. Not that you're a "creature"! :)

Hope said...

Good to hear your voice again Steve. Hugs to you across the miles today.

Erin said...

I'm sorry that so much has been so difficult. I frankly can't even imagine having to train my replacement in that kind of context. You're a better man than I. Well... you know what I mean ;)

Pausing to pray for you and yours...

Vic Mansfield said...

And I'm late in catching up on my blog reading. Good to hear about what's gonig on. Hope the health is better now. Blessings and cheers.