Monday, December 03, 2007

It Was A Dark and Blustery Night

Wide awake, I am. The kind of awake that just getting up and peeing does not fix. There was also an interesting mix of heart burn and heart yearn. I recall dreaming as I was waking that that I was writing a book about looking at houses. The book was about some wealthy person (the house had "servant quarters" that could be accessed by the exterior door for the personal assistant). It was weird.

I came down and turned on the laptop. I fiddled around with my Fantasy Football teams for the next week. I really enjoy that. It looks like I'll be in the play-offs against Nelson. He'll win. He has the better team. And that's okay. I can lose to him and feel okay about second place. It was fun to have Ron in our league, too. We talked about it last night. Ron said he enjoyed it enough to do it again next year. Yea! Another convert. ")

When I was done with that I started reading blogs and diaries. HeyJules had a wonderful entry about a volunteering experience at her church. It left me sitting here in tears and helped me see what my heart yearn was about (the burn was easy: Burger King for dinner). Her church provided a free family event that especially touched one woman who expressed her amazement and grattitude. Her genuine appreciation reminded me of the story of the lepers who were healed by Jesus. One actually came back and said thanks. I don't think it was that the others weren't grateful, they were just caught up in their new-found wholeness. The woman's response was incredulous as she was surprised that the "church" would do such a great thing for "people like her."

In my last post I mentioned how tired I am. I feel old. I feel used up. I feel like I have very little to offer. No, really. And my exhaustion was starting to build its own little "who really cares about what you do, anyway" nest. Not a good thing. Truth is, I hadn't had any recent visitations by healed lepers, or life-improved ex-felons, and I was starting to wonder if it was really worth it. I have been passionate about my work. I work hard. I teach hard.

Sitting here right now, I'm reminded of a sermon illustration. Funny where your mind can go at this early hour. Anyway, the story is about an old farmer. A flock of birds lands on his property in the middle of a horrendous storm. He tries to provide for them but they don't listen to his verbal invitation to find cover and food in his barn. They don't respond until he goes out and shows them the way. (I never was very good at using other people's illustrations...just like I can't tell someone else's joke.) I'm a lot like the farmer. I can't just tell people about changing life. I put a ton of energy into really coming along side and understanding them. It feels good when they get it. And so many more head away and I don't know if they ever do. It's like the story of the Rag Man (that will date me a bit; Ragman by Walter Wangerin. I just looked it up and found it online). I just keep giving myself away.

I think that's why I blew up at my supervisor on Friday afternoon. I had a job that I needed to find a worker for. I wish I could adequately describe how seriously I take that responsibility. The position was temporary, with just the faintest possibility of becoming full-time permanent. I called four people before I finally got one who called me back--but they all want jobs. The guy's wife was ecstatic. He was very appreciative. I felt good about the connection. Not twenty minutes after I sealed the deal, my supervisor called and told me that the company had contacted him and informed him that there would be no work on Monday so please don't have the new guy show up until Tuesday.

As the message was delivered, I became heated. I lost my professional tone. This was the second time in two weeks that this company had gotten word to me after the fact. That part in itself was frustrating, but it was the next words that pushed me right over the edge. I was basically asked what the big deal was, it was just a day. Just a day? This supervisor talks about knowing poverty and desperation on a personal level, but in that moment he really lost me. Yes, it was a day. Only $80 in the grand scheme of life. But the potential was, in the Mastercard venacular, priceless. What that one day could do for this discouraged man, for this overburdened marriage, for their hope deprived children couldn't be tallied in nickles and dimes.
On one hand, I want to go to work. I look forward to talking to the county area service providers at lunch and telling them what we do, how we specialize in not just getting jobs, but helping people make the life-style and heart changes to excell in life and be productive. But on the other hand, I am not looking forward to probably being reprimanded for my inappropriately unprofessional response to my supervisor. I know I was insubordinate. I deserve to be corrected. I will try to respond more appropriately in the future. But I also know that I will continue to be passionate and sometimes that is not always easily channeled and controlled. If it was would it still be passion?

So I'm sitting here wondering what Jesus would do? He was certainly passionate. Just ask the money changers in the temple about his passion. Ask Mary and Martha about his deep love when their brother died. What were the tender words that Jesus said to the widow who's son had died? But the tables only went over once. I need to keep that in mind.

Now I wonder if I can get a little nap in before the alarm goes off? Probably not. I'll just use the time to pray. May your day be blessed. Mine is already.

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