Sunday, July 31, 2011

How Can I Serve God?

The actual process of looking for a "job"  in a way  severs the connection with my God. I am seeking a way to make money, to gain a reward and when I think of it in these terms I lose track of the real reason why I need to work. I need to serve God. I need to use what skills I have in order to make a difference in the world, in order to spread compassion and dispel fear. How best can I do that, and what is my purpose on this orbiting sphere. You would think that at 38 I would be clear about my future. I have the Liberal Arts degree in hand and goals, plenty of goals. I do however remember watching Good Will Hunting and lamenting the fact that I don't have a clear genius, that I am an average gal, I write well sometimes, I am told I am friendly and put people at ease, I read voraciously, but even as a child I didn't have the genius for one particular area, I wasn't a star. I am not Meryl Streep or Bill Gates. I didn't always dream of becoming a lawyer, firefighter or podiatrist. I love books, I love reading, I love writing, I love creating and looking at really old, beautifully decorated books. I want to die in the Beineke Library at Yale University. I love Dante and Chaucer and Boccacio and the way the Italian language rolls off my tongue. I love the sound of the keys when I type and I hold a notebook as a security blanket. This all doesn't translate into a rent-paying career. Or does it? I have my motives mixed up, I have been coming from a place of fear, fear of losing my apartment and car, fear of asking for help and fear of not knowing what the next step is. I think I know, but then I find out I don't. The key word here being "I." Dear God, please help me to know how best to live in accordance with your will for me. Help me to get out of my own way, help me to stop trying to work toward the end result and savor the process of discovering the person I am. Amen. 

Saturday, July 30, 2011

That where there is despair, I may bring hope, part 2

Warning, this is a rant and only a rant, you have the right to stop reading, if you choose to keep reading you will be responsible for your own reactions.
The facts: I am between school and gainful employment. I have been actively looking for a job and receiving rejection after rejection. I have not paid my bills in many months. The following is a representation of a conversation that takes place frequently now that I have graduated.
Person: So you just graduated, what are you doing now?
Me: I am looking for a job, preferably in the education field, I would love to teach while I write.
Person: Jobs are so hard to find, especially teaching jobs, I know so many people are out of work right now, it is so hard, these economic times are tough.
Please, please, please. I am almost 100% sure that anyone looking for work, or that is underemployed is well aware that it is a hard time to look for a job. Please oh please offer hope. I know that y'all want to be realists, but when someone is taking a cold shower because oil costs over 4$ a gallon, or they pay for groceries with food stamps, I am pretty sure that they are aware of reality. What is needed is hope. I have been accused of not being in touch with the "harsh reality" of the world every time I set a goal that is high, I go for that job I might not be completely qualified for, or I dream of  working at this place or publishing that piece. Let me set a high goal, encourage me to believe that this too shall pass. Because it will. I know that people mean well, I know they like to commiserate, but the offer of hope and gentle encouragement will work miracles. I need daily reminders that God is there, saving me from inappropriate situations. I need to notice the miracles, I need to feel hope and gratitude, even when the rejections pile up. I need to have cheerleaders surrounding me rather than naysayers. Hope goes a long way. Maybe I need to change my answer to: I am working for God, I am spending quiet days in prayer, I am absorbing sun and flowers and love. Miracles happen, all the time. There, now I feel better.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

That where there is despair, I may bring hope

This is my third time sitting to write this post. Blogger has decided to edit my writing, in its entirety. Maybe this happens for a reason, the original post was about an experience I had being tailgated this morning, the fear that came up and my reactions to that fear. I have power over my actions and reactions, I don't have power over the world at large or the cruelty of humanity.  I was scared this morning as this enormous red truck came barreling up behind me, flashing lights and inching closer as my dogs played in the back. I chose to slow down rather than pull over. I was responsible at the moment of contributing to the despair of the planet. I can control that much. Today I am powerless over Blogger, over mass murderers and tailgaters. But I do have the power to control my negative reactions and not bring more despair and anger into a world already saturated with it. I will now cut this post and paste it into a Word document, to keep my own frustration at bay. The labels belong with the first post. Maybe the act of writing this three times has softened my words, I hope it has.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Separation Anxiety

I took care of a little dog this weekend that exhibited the symptoms of separation anxiety, scratching at the door, barking and peeing when left alone. I could relate to that little canine (minus the peeing), whenever I become separate from my Higher Source I become a little crazy too. My symptoms are slightly different, but I do get anxious, irritable, and tend to display a little bark, snapping at those around me. My separation anxiety can be eased simply, just by connecting with others; when I connect with people I connect with God. When my self-imposed isolation ends, the anxiety diminishes. Just as when I returned home to the little dog, his barking stopped and he happily followed me around the house. I learn much from my furry companions, how to meditate, relax and enjoy every moment of the day. My dog Grace can entertain herself for hours with a library book (expensive habit) or a good mud puddle. Today I will connect with others, I will ask for help and I will find a mud puddle. Life is supposed to be joyous, and it is if I allow myself to take it like a dog.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

When life hands us lemons

we are supposed to make lemonade, right? Have you ever had lemonade made merely from lemons? Pretty disgusting. If I am going to make lemonade, or the best of a situation, I need two additional ingredients for a stellar brew, sugar (gratitude) and water (God). If I have a daily spiritual practice which involves God and gratitude I won't be complaining about lemons, but as I tend to forget solutions that are gentle, I need to know how to whip up a batch of lemonade. Unemployment is not merely a scary time when rent and bills go unpaid, a little sugar and prayer turns this transitional period in my life into weeks finding out all the many fun facts about my personality, one of which is a strong desire to be of service to my community (the other is I hate to be bored and watch way too much tv). It is also a time to write, or to log in extra miles and really train for an upcoming race rather than wing it. It is a time when I can say yes to my partner who wants to head up to Vermont for a few days, and moments of spending hours by myself, in silence with my Creator. It is a beautiful scary time for which I am extremely grateful. How about them lemons?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

That where there is doubt, I may bring faith

I doubt, I always doubt. I am standing on the edge of a cliff, fog rolling in, the sounds of waves crashing against rock in the distance. Do I take a step? My doubt comes out of fear, fear is the root of all I do, or do not attempt. I am currently unemployed without the safety net of unemployment insurance. I have no source of income. So I doubt because I am afraid, I am terrified of losing my shelter, my car, my possessions. But I also have a list of all of the ways that my Creator has taken care of me in the past. I have, on numerous occasions, stepped off the cliff only to land on a feather bed, with lavender scented silk sheets. I could have never imagined as I took the terrifying step that I would fall on plush comfort. That was faith. Today I go to my past, to the instances where God has guided me down dark alleys and helped navigate through uncharted waters. In order to bring faith however, I need to get quiet, the swirling thoughts do nothing to guide me, they contribute to my fear and worry. It is in the stillness, as I stand on the side of the road during a five mile run watching a great blue heron silently wait for its lunch, that I know the next step, even if it is to take a step away from the edge, back up and readjust. The answers always come, piecemeal yes, but they come in the intuitions that prompt me to send another email or call this friend, or reach out for help. The faith comes in the stillness, in meditation, in the present moment. When there is doubt, may I shut up and listen. Faith comes to me when I am not frantically reaching for it. Today I will shut up, I will watch for the heron, I will thank God for this beautiful day and I will know what the next step will be.