Friday, April 15, 2011

My Own Reality

I don't like work - no man does - but I like what is in the work - the chance to find yourself. Your own reality - for yourself, not for others - what no other man can ever know. They can only see the mere show, and never can tell what it really means. Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, Kindle Location 535-37.

What does it mean to find yourself? Is is possible to do something and in the act of doing that particular task or job find yourself? In the same vein, is it possible to get so lost within a task or job that you lose track of who you even are? Does a job provide an opportunity for others to see who you are or does a job simply allow you to test yourself to see what's within you? I struggled nearly every single day I worked at the church. I was so frustrated, lost, confused, hurt, and often angry at my job there. I was bitter to my wife. I struggled to invest in my own kids. I felt parts of my own life ebbing away as if the days, weeks, months and years were being consumed by a beast I had no idea how to contain or control. Often times I wondered why I kept toiling at something that no matter how hard I tried never seemed to fit. Questions I asked never seemed to be answered. Those above me would always point out that I had issues that needed to be sorted out but that the job itself was fine. Those I encountered assumed the job was great for me and that it fit so well for my skills, personality, and experiences. I was lost amongst it all, not knowing what to do, who to turn to, or what the hell was wrong with me. Looking back I can see clearly now that I was searching for something that couldn't be found there. A job, in a myriad of ways, can never truly give identity or purpose. However, within a job one can experience the journey towards finding out who they are and what their reality is. The job in and of itself is not that critical. However, the job can either assist in the process of discovery or simply be a stumbling block towards recovery of oneself. Working for the church was never meant to be for me. Others could see the "mere show" and assume they knew what was best - but only I could tell what was going on. I was even accused of using the church to further myself as if somehow I wasn't providing enough return for the labor I put forth. Man that pissed me off. But in the end, who cares. What matters is that I ended up finally stumbling in a new direction of teaching & education. I have yet to find a job and reality in this economy doesn't speak too kindly to my prospects. But in the short time I have worked at a school I have found a vocation that has opened the floodgates of thoughts, feelings, and ideas welled up within me. Reality is at the end of the tunnel, and for a change, my job allows me to see it. I am finding myself on a daily basis now. Are there difficult parts to my job? Certainly. But it has provided me the opportunity to explore and experience life. I am finding a new me, and I really love it. The mere show others might see probably gives them an opinion or two on who I am. But now I don't care anymore. No one can tell, explain, or experience the depth of refreshment I have found in teaching. Reality is finally here and now I am not afraid of it.


Eric Spiker said...

This is one of the most honest and refreshing things I have read in a long time. Not only does this article give be a sense of genuine joy for you, but I also fully believe that God is honored and glorified by you, through your journey, and by your writing. I count it as an honor to have served with you for a short time at the church. Do not be mistaken, you were extremely talented as a youth pastor on so many different levels, but that doesn't mean that's who you are or what you are supposed to be doing. I can't wait to hear all the great stories of what God does through you in the public school classroom!