I think too much at work. Think about how, as I get older, life just keeps getting more complex, about how such complexity has stolen some of the light from (my once jovial friend and coworker) Kacey’s eyes. About the stories of each person I meet in the store. And of the people I used to meet in the hallways. Another one of my coworkers asked me that: “Do you remember walking the halls?” Yes, yes I do. I remember thinking about the stories as I surveyed the sea of faces. When the halls were empty I walked by the lockers, I thought of the souls and cried. I remember…

It’s sad how sensitivity dulls with exposure. There are lockers at work too. I’m far enough in now to have begun hearing the stories. People like to think that those who are depressed or self harm are the exceptions. Really, if you dig deep enough, they might be the rule.

“You look happy today.”

“I’m good at faking.”

“I think most people are.”

Sometimes I kick myself for not noticing it in their eyes. You can nearly always catch it there if you watch. Sometimes I hate that I say too much; other times I stay quiet when I should speak up. Occasionally, I get it right. Like last week. A simple not saying essentially “I get it. I’ve been there. I care.”  A brief break from my earthly work to pursue my heavenly calling. “I’m just going to hand this to you and awkwardly walk away. Connecting later on social media. It felt so good to get it right for once.

I miss the school. I miss the little things, like windows. Being cooped up in windowless backrooms in a large rectangular building without so much as a peek at the beauty outdoors is torture. Can I make a difference? I know less and less of the answers as the days go by. I cannot impart a hope I do not possess for myself. It’s easy to lose my own spiritual walk in the fray, to become “Much-afraid” again, even after The Shepherd has changed my name, for those of you who get that reference.

But I think and hope that I won’t be caged in the brick building forever. I think, I hope, that I’m making at least a bit of a positive difference there. Even if it’s just bringing a smile to brighten a coworker’s day as they dub me “Janice Joplin” (Joppie for short), “Robin Hood” or “Minnie Pearl” because of my outlandish hat.

Maybe someday I will work with the people and age group of my passion again. There are hopeful signs: Being friended by a member of the Apache Youth Ministries team that I’d love to work with someday, a mention of a possible student teaching opportunity next year, the camp counseling week in June that I am so looking forward to. It is these things that make my heart skip a beat; It is these things that bring me hope. I pray that I may walk worthy of the calling even in the long, frustrating transition stage of my journey. So…that’s me. Where are you today on your journey, my friends?

Categories: My Life | Tags: , , , , , | 7 Comments

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7 thoughts on “Hopeful

  1. I’m not as brave as you, to write so openly of my deepest struggles on the internet for all to see. So I feel like quite the coward picking up the pen (so to speak) to comment on yours. It seems like if I’m not wiling to risk so much myself, I don’t have any business poking around in someone elses’ thoughts. Nevertheless, you expressed so much happiness the last time I tried that I feel maybe it’s more selfish sometimes to keep my thoughts to myself. So, with trepidation. . .

    You seem so very anxious, and that makes me feel so very bad for you. It reminds me a little bit of last Sunday, and I was visiting another church. The pastor was talking about the modern day pharisee, and how they do all of the right things. . .but have no joy. How the “good” things that we do, as Christians, flow not from a desperate attempt to make ourselves good enough for God, but out of our relationship with Him–because He loves us and sends us His spirit.

    Then the pastor went on to give a guilt session about how if we weren’t “making a plan” to give to the church, we wouldn’t ever give, so everyone had better hurry up and give. I wanted to cry out, “What? Wait! I thought we were just talking about how just “doing” things wasn’t the point, how it was supposed to be a fruit of the spirit dwelling within us, and now you want us just hurry up and “do”? Do you want to make us all into pharisees?” I guess probably he just isn’t thinking about how what he says on one hand is relating to what he is saying on the other hand.

    Which is to say, no, you aren’t good enough, which is why I think you’re anxious. You can’t make a difference. But yes, He is, and that’s the very good news you seem to be so driven to tell everyone else. He IS making a difference, even in you and even through you. Moses stuttered and didn’t find himself fit to go talking to any King and God insisted he go anyhow, because it wasn’t about Moses, it was about God working through Moses, and it didn’t matter what kind of shape Moses was in for God to do that. You know this. You know that love does not wait until someone is good enough, but loves through the brokenness anyway. You know that Moses screwed up and that God still used him to get the Israelites to the promised land. You know David was said to be a man after God’s own heart, and not only fell short but blatantly sinned numerous time. You know that God still used these people, and even used them as types of His own son.

    You are worried about making a difference, worried about getting it right, worried about doing this thing called “life”, but I think it’s time to hear and believe the gentle voice saying, “Veronicah, Veronicah, you are worried about many things, but only one thing is needed.”

    Don’t be worried. Be confident, knowing that love casts out all fear, knowing that God will — and indeed, IS — using you to do His will and accomplish the things He desires, whether you can see it or not. I say it not as one giving you knowledge that you did not have before, but as one reminding you of what you clearly do know: now faith is confidence in what we hope for, and assurance about what we do not see.

    If faith came easily and naturally, we wouldn’t have to be admonished so many times to have it. Having confidence that God never settles for “good” and always comes through with “best” while in the middle of some excruciating doldrums (of the nautical sense, not the bored sense) is not an easy thing. But maybe when the voices inside of you rise up saying that if only you could get it right, you can answer them that God already has it right. He’s got it; all you have to do is show up, like the Israelites to Jericho. You don’t have to get it right, you just have to love Him and seek Him.

    And I’m sorry if this comes across as patronizing, because what I really mean is, “I get it. I’ve been there. I care.”

    • Thanks for replying! 🙂 Also, don’t feel bad about your not writing your soul struggles. It could be argued that my tendency to spill my heart to the world wide web and less so to people in real life is unhealthy. And even as it is, there are some struggles about which I remain silent here. We’re all different and that’s a good thing!

      As to your thoughts. Yes, putting too much pressure on myself is something I’ve been admonished on before, and also something I need to hear again. The admonition that “God’s got it” is something I know in my head, but even still I feel responsible. One thing I got out of sitting under an evangelist, Mr. Sunshine, speaking on evangelism recently was his saying that there are no failures in witnessing. We aren’t responsible for the other people’s response, only for spreading the word, so to speak. I would add that we are responsible for the impression we leave via our evangelism style or chosen technique, and I didn’t really agree with his, but despite our difference in approach, still I gleaned at least one nugget from his speech.

      Thanks again for your reply! I know that takes time from your schedule and I appreciate your investment of that time here.

  2. It’s great that you want to make a meaningful difference. I also liked what you said about the importance of being genuine when you ask people how they are and wanting to follow up with them when they’re not ok.

  3. Everyone we meet has hurts and surrows. It may be something we can’t understand (why is that important to you?) but it’s a part of who that person is right now.

    Currently I’ve lost most of my hair to chemotherapy treatment, and I’m mourning that. The vocal cancer world is telling me that brave confident women are proud to show the world their bald heads. My emotions tell me what is important to me right now.

    You don’t know the hidden sorrows of all in your windowless work building. While you are there be the lady who is kind to all you come in contact with. If moments come when think you can help, do your best — but don’t stress if you think you failed. There have been times when people mention some long-ago kindness I did them, and I have no recollection of the event. Sometimes we help when we don’t know we are doing so.

    Stay at your present job until it seems to be the right time to go elsewhere. Pray and do your best.

  4. Karen,

    Yes, we each have our own sorrows and our own responses to them, don’t we? Thank you for your encouragement. I do hope I am making a difference in large and small ways.

    I appreciate your last two sentences. Especially the last “Pray and do your best.” That seems so much more realistic to me than “Pray and don’t move an inch until you’ve figured out exactly what God’s call on your life is.” An attitude I’ve seen in many churches and individuals. Maybe I’m weird that I don’t know God’s precise “calling” for me yet, or even if he calls us all in such specific ways as some believe.

    May God bless you as you fight your fight and hold against your sorrows, friend. Thanks for commenting!

  5. I was going to skip a deep comment on this post and just say something trivial, but now I think maybe I better just shut up since others have said good and serious things 😉

    Well, my trivial was agreeing with you that windowless back rooms are the pits, and make me feel terribly trapped too. Also, you won’t be there forever, any more than school lasted forever.

    But on the days when you feel most down you can imagine that you are like Paul and Silas in prison…and then sing. That’s as close as I’m getting to profound today.

    That said, when I read T’s comment I was reminded how often I forget that truth she said in my own life.

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