Friday, 26 September 2014

I have choice

I did learn something - I have choice. I can sit here and wallow in the pain of what has happened. And wisely, I do need to grieve this one well if I want to move on to a new season in a healthy way. But I have this insane fear that I'm going to get stuck in grief, in disappointment, in depression. So how do I grieve well while still moving forward?

I've been seeing a Career Counselor. She is amazing. My friend Maple (who I talked about yesterday, she's getting a lot of air time) suggested I google "theravive". Oh wow was that ever a great idea. You type in whatever your issue is and where you're located and BANG - there is a list of Counselors for most every issue known to man. This person I'm seeing is an Art Therapist, a "Whole Brain Practioner" , a Career Counselor, was in ministry herself for 20 years and is an all around remarkable woman. I am so grateful she can process this with me. Anyway, she and I have done lots of testing around where my strengths and weaknesses lie and where I should go.

Based on the way my brain is wired, my top 4 career choices should be:

1. Pastor (hmmm.....)
2. Art Museum Curator
3. Doctor
4. Lawyer

not too far down the list are the more amusing:

8. Horticultural Manager
9. Blacksmith
14. Stonemason
18. Cavity Wall Insulator

I laugh.

I started on my Masters of Divinity a couple of years ago. So do I want to finish that? Yep. Would be a smart move. But schooling costs money and I have many mouths to feed. Not to mention that Ben starts University next fall.
I love to write. I love to speak. I am a musician.
I love groups of people. the bigger the better.

If I stay still for too long I get a headache. (Like right now I've had just about as much "alone time" as I can take). 

So my people - if you were me, what would you do next?

Thursday, 25 September 2014

I did learn something - things really do happen in threes.

Big picture
The way I feel now, I've felt this way two other times in my life.

The first one was when my Dad was dying. When I had to accept that no matter how much I prayed, no matter how many scripture verses I "claimed", my Dad was going to die. There was nothing I could do about it.

The second was when my Kid's Dad left. I knew he had wanted to go for a long time. I think I did eek out more time through begging/pleading/manipulation, but my counselor said it best, "He has chosen to live a life which does not include you." Yep. That was it.

And now this. How unbelievably ironic that less than three days before this happened, I sat in front of all of you and bared my soul and told you how much I loved my church and place of employment, and how desperately sad I was that so many people were leaving.

I had no idea that in 72 hours that number would include me, too. (Some of you thought that my last blog post was about me being laid off, it wasn't.)

To say I was shocked was an understatement. In fact, I think I laughed at them when they first told me. I don't remember much - one of them wore a pink shirt, there was a glass of water there for me, and a letter. It was over in less than 5 minutes.

They were kind. Reasons were financial. Board asked them to reduce staff. I have a good severance package. I can keep my phone, my laptop......

Am I sad? Incredibly.
Am I mad? No. Not my style.
Am I hurt? Incredibly.
Am I bitter? No. Not my style.
I have all the support in the world. The same cannot be said for others.

Through my disappointment the words that my friend Maple shared with her son and his friends as he left for University in England rested on me. "Being loved like this is a wonderful thing, and you are all so fortunate to have experienced it."

I can go with that.  Many people never know the joy of being able to hop out of bed in the morning and almost rushing to work because you couldn't wait to be there. Many people don't know what it's like to count the people that you rub shoulders with on a daily/weekly basis as your family. Many people don't know what it's like to be able to trust the people around you with your life.

And maybe that's why I'm so sad. Because I do know what's it's like. 

(if you need to add more mushiness to your life, please go to YouTube now and watch Kristin and Idina sing "For Good" from Wicked - trust me, you'll be a mess for the rest of the day)

Small Picture
Until the end of time, I will remember September 2014 for the following 3 critical incidents:
          1. Moving (if you want to know what I thought about that, just scroll down my blog) I honestly do not know what I would have ever done without Jarrett. He is simply the best. Such a gift.
          2. This being laid off thing
          3. One word - lice - oh ya, I said it. Horrifying.

Still itching.....

Sunday, 7 September 2014

I did learn something....saying goodbye to church family is hard.

The word "Pastor" hangs outside my office, and because it does, I have felt that my skin needs to be beyond thick, that I cannot feel and that I need to be happily understanding of every situation. If this post offends you I apologize and hope that I'm not violating some "code" by admitting that my heart is soft and can bruise.

My Dad was a Pastor too, always small churches. Because the churches were small, I understood it was of the utmost importance that we kept every person in the church from leaving the church. But of course that's an impossible task, and from time to time people would become bored with my Dad's preaching, or would disagree with him, or feel that it was a time for change and leave the church. That would throw my Dad into the emotional pit of discouragement and my Mom told me that it was up to her and I to pull him out of it.

Don't know if we ever did.

When I felt the call to service to the church I was relieved that the options available to me were in larger churches, where I thought I wouldn't have to fear the paralyzing reality of rejection when people left. And for the most part that has been true. People have come, people have gone. I have been able to "bless them as they go." But during the 7 1/2 years that I've been at the church where I'm at now, they have truly become my family. (and being an only child with no cousins closer than Southern Ontario reinforces that) I love them. I cook with them. I eat with them. I sit at their bedsides when they're dying. I hang out with them when they've been admitted to the Psych Ward. I'm in their hospital room when they find out their baby has died. I rejoice with them when life suddenly hands them a bowl of cherries. I laugh with them when their dreams come true. We go shopping. We go to restaurants. When they think they hear the voice of God I help them discern. I love them. They are my family.

They are my kid's family too. 

And when, for whatever reason, they feel called away - I've been brave. In some cases I truly understand their reasoning for leaving. In finding out what some people truly believe I've said to them, "Oh ya, you need to go." But in this years' church shuffle that inevitably finds itself happening around this time, it struck me differently than before.

I cried.

Because I felt like I was losing my family. Family I cried with. Family I laughed with. Family who walked with me through dark days. Family that rejoiced with me when ashes were turned into beauty.

I wasn't disappointed with them for leaving because I felt like they owed me something for all the years of service I had given to them.

I was sad because of what they had given me. The gift of family. And I didn't want to lose that.

So I automatically do what I do when people leave, I unfollow them from my timeline. (Because most of the time, when people leave the church, they start posting  about how great their life is now that they're at a new church. Sorry folks, can't go there. Too soon.) I distance myself from them relationally. I redirect my mind so my sadness can't linger.

Usually that works.

But this year my grief is more tender than usual. I let my tears flow a little more freely.

I feel the cost of loving people. Again.