Thursday, May 21, 2009

Boy has it been embarrassingly long since I posted here! I have no wonderful excuse to share, either. It just happens.

Since the last time I wrote, we attended the college graduation of my niece and goddaughter, Heather. It was a wonderful experience and we were so very proud of her. Her parents divorced when she was quite young and I was thrilled that her father was able to join us, too. He couldn’t have been more gracious or more proud of his little girl. I know it meant the world to her that he was there.

Of course, she graduated into difficult times. She had hoped to go to graduate school but the only programs that accepted her were out of her price range. Her short-term plan is to stay for the summer at her state-funded job at a local museum. She expects funding to completely dry up by the end of September, and I honestly don’t think she has a clue what she is doing after that. I know she’s frightened about that, but she wasn’t saying much.

I shared with her the story of my graduation from college, just because I thought it might give her some comfort. I graduated in 1980 and the economy was in pretty sorry shape then, too. Inflation was high and so was unemployment. I earned a 3.8 GPA and couldn’t land a job to save my soul. I got so depressed, and so dreaded having to tell people I couldn’t find a job, that I virtually hid in the house all summer. Eventually I took a full-time clerical job at the hospital where I’d worked part-time in college. It was two years of menial, mind-numbing clerical work before my life began to take a turn for the better. After that things picked up dramatically; I have had a very fulfilling life and career since. I hope she can draw some hope from that.

I continue to seek that elusive new full-time position myself, but I have had at least a little new progress on my freelance business. For a few weeks now I’ve been writing one article a week for a subscription-based marketing website. It’s such a small gig that the income, though fair for the job, is insignificant. But it has had the beneficial effect of giving me at least one writing task to focus on with normal pressure to please an editor and meet a deadline. That has been very good for me. Not surprisingly, I’m beginning to get more ideas to pitch as articles elsewhere now that I have my juices flowing.

There are many changes afoot in our church, too. As most of my readers probably know, our church is an important part of Bob’s and my life. Both our Pastor (of 12 years) and our Director of Music Ministry (of 11 years) are leaving next month. So I’ve been involved in planning going away parties for both, and serving on the search committee for the new Director of Music Ministry. On the one hand, I’m not freaked out about this. It is completely normal within the ebb and flow of the life of any parish, and I’m really not alarmed or unduly concerned. On the other, the two moves together constitute a lot of change. With so much career uncertainty, there is a part of me that wishes church could remain a comfort zone. I guess I just have to rely on the Holy Spirit and believe that while things may feel different when we resume the normal schedule in the fall, they will be securely in the hands of the One who knows what we need.

I had an interesting interaction yesterday. I was at the high school helping with a PTA project and saw our neighbor, Rachel. Rachel was all over the news two years ago when some ill-adjusted guy thought she and her friends had trespassed on his property and responded by shooting their car. The girls had not trespassed nor done anything more than drive past the house a couple of times. Rachel was shot in the head and it was a miracle she survived. Two years later, she is still struggling to recover her mobility and memory. I saw her stepmother outside later in the day and though we don't really know each other, I stopped to tell her how uplifting it was to see Rachel at school and doing so well.

I could tell she really, really appreciated the comment. She shared that Rachel's dad is still struggling with letting go of the hopes and dreams he and Rachel had shared for her future. She went on to say that Rachel had always had a sweet, sunny disposition, and this injury did not rob her of that. Rachel continues to be optimistic about the future and generally look for the silver lining in the whole experience.

All that Rachel has overcome already is very inspiring, but to me that was the most inspiring of all. I always want to know what's coming, to be prepared, to be in control. That's why it was so hard for me to be unable to get a job right out of college, why the job hunt/freelance business development balance is so hard for me, and it's why the changes at my church are so unsettling. Rachel, on the other hand, is in a position where she truly has no control. And instead of fighting that, she manages to seek the beauty in each day. Now THAT's inspiration!