Tuesday, December 31, 2013

eating the elephant. . . .

It's New Year's Eve...  took down the Christmas decorations this evening and now I am pondering the year.

Last I wrote I had quit working at the bank and didn't really know what was going to happen next. I chose to concentrate on my studies - thinking I'd look for work once I had graduated next year.

That changed in July when I took a call from a good friend. He was asking whether I'd consider filling in as church administrator for a few months. It would give him a little extra time to find someone to fill the role. As I thought about it, I decided that yes, I could, as a friend, do a friend a favour. I gave it my best shot and found that I enjoyed what I was doing. He had warned me not to get my hopes up - he was not looking to hire me permanently. Six weeks later I had to face the fact that I was thoroughly enjoying this new role and earnestly hoped he would reconsider his position when it was time to begin the search.

November he asked me if I wanted to stay.  Crazy how that happened.

It has meant, however, a change in the way we relate to each other. We are still very good friends, but we function now almost solely in a very professional working relationship. While, that is good (and necessary), there are parts of our friendship that I miss.

At the same time, I am shown much grace as my schooling is requiring more of me than I had expected. Two courses left and I am thankful that he has not increased my hours as initially discussed. Furthermore, he has offered suggestions for how I might cope with both the workload and the attention I need to give to my courses. Additionally, he has offered that I can take time away from the office in spring to concentrate solely on the last assignments so that I am able to finish well. It means much to me that I am able to dialogue with him about some of the things I am thinking. I am learning to understand this clay pot that is me with both its abilities and limitations.

As I look back, it has been a crazy time - busy and exciting and fun and stressful and exhilarating and exhausting. Two grandbabies to ♥ love ♥ and spoil and ♥ love ♥ and watch grow and ... did I say, ♥ love ♥?? bitter-sweet to be sure but they are sure fun to have around!! Five courses completed this year! Two months off from studying over the summer with this past month also as a short reprieve before everything starts up again in earnest.

As I look forward I am apprehensive - but I hope that I can learn to live in the present moment and not wish these next 3 months away - I hope I can learn to take each day / moment at a time, to learn to eat the elephant just one bite at a time.



Saturday, April 27, 2013

so much that I don't know. . .

It's been just over three months since my last day at the bank. Have I looked back at that decision with regret? Not one bit. I felt so sure that it was no longer where I should be spending my time that it's been totally OK to not be working there anymore.
Was it the right choice? I think so. Out of that short stint of working, I received a number of gifts, all God-provided:
One. A lawyer.
Two. Another investment advisor.
Three. A credit card. in my name. with a decent limit.
Four. A better understanding of what I do well and what I don't do so very well.

I've interviewed at a number of different places and each time I've come up short. Second in line. I found that  frustrating and discouraging. Yet. I've also come to a place of being OK with that as I'm realizing that if I want to complete my studies by next year, I just cannot also work full-time.

I have 5 courses left. In order to complete them by Spring 2014, I need to take 2 this fall and 2 in January. They are demanding courses and I know that I don't have the time nor the energy for them and work. At least, not if I want to do my very best in my studies.

I'm also trying to figure out just what I want to do. I've been leading a mom's group (moms of young children) and I love meeting with them. I love listening to them and finding ways to encourage them - it's almost like there is potential for me to mentor / coach them. I like that. I'm also a spiritual director - I completed my training Dec 2012 and the two directees that I had to find for my practicum have both decided that they want to continue. I love that. I love the time that I spend with them.

Bottom line? I love the mom's group. I love being a spiritual director. (Is it wrong to say that? I hope not... ).  I love my studies (for the most part). I just don't know how all this is going to fit together...  but I also know that I don't have to have this all figured out yet. I'm trusting (hoping?) that God will let me know what & where & how & when...


Sunday, January 20, 2013

twists and turns...

that I just couldn't see coming up quite so quickly have resulted in a number of changes for me already this month.

To start.  I met with my spiritual director end of December. During our session it became evident to me that I had a choice to make. Well, it wasn't really a choice. It was more a matter of when will I make the decision that I knew I needed to make?  I spent the next few days in prayer and realized that I was ready. I typed up the letter and on my second day back at work after the New Year, my manager had a quiet office. I took advantage of that and slipped in to talk with her. At the end of that meeting, she had my letter of resignation in her hand and I had 10 days of work left.

What was so amazing in the course of our conversation was that she affirmed for me a few things.  One, this position was not really a "fit" for me. While she was grateful that I had given it my best effort, she saw that it really was not something that was working well for me. Secondly, she mentioned that she knew what kind of work would suit me well. When I asked her if she would share her thoughts with me, she was quick to tell me that I was best suited for something like grief counselling or walking with others, entering into those "deeper conversations".

My jaw dropped. This affirmation was such a confirmation for me. It is the kind of work that I have begun through fulfilling the requirements for my course in Soul Care - specifically, in offering Spiritual Direction to others.

Friday was my last day at the bank. I don't know what the future holds. For now, I believe that I am now where God wants me to be. The hardest part is to trust that He will continue to be present as I turn my attention to my course work and as I look for ways to do the work that use the gifts He has given me. I am sure that there will be more twists and turns along the way - I just hope that I will be able to trust that God has my hand in His and therefore I don't need to see the road ahead.


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

more pondering. . .

So much to consider and upon which to ponder.
Much has transpired since the darkness returned; yet amid that darkness there has also come the realization that I am not alone.


This advent season I faced brokenness with new understanding. Broken peace as a result of broken dreams, broken faith, broken trust, broken hope. Is it any wonder that I have felt so conflicted inside? Where there is no trust, there can be no peace.

Life has taken another turn or two:

  • I began a new job working as a teller at Scotiabank. 
  • I participated in a Study Tour of the land of Israel
  • I have wrestled with the darkness
  • I have wrestled with the wilderness experience
  • I have come to understand that perhaps I am ready to take a fledgling step into trust once again
The wilderness remains the place in which I live. The land of promise is in the distance. I cannot make it out clearly for there hangs in the air a haze. 
The way is ...  well, I don't know the way. Without a guide, I would surely get lost. There is One who knows the way. He has been in this wilderness. He has seen not only seen the land of promise but has also promised that I will one day i will stand at the border, ready to enter... and now He beckons me to follow Him. To follow? That requires trust. Will I choose to trust Him? 

That does not negate the reality that I cannot see the land of promise that lies in the distance. That does not negate that the way is unknown and even the next step is not seen. The haze that lies in the distance? It also hangs in the air that surrounds me, like dense fog. I cannot see where the next step will even lead. It means that my act of trust is to reach my hand into that haze and wait for the Father to take hold of it - to lead me as I take the next step. 

To reach? To trust? Will He take my hand? It is an act of faith - a first faltering step of trust. And what of the anticipation of what lies ahead? It is not possible to proceed without first pausing to remember:
  • To remember when God was present
  • To remember when he made himself known
  • To remember when he protected
  • To remember the goodness of the Lord
  • To remember...  
  • To remember...  
  • To remember...

and then to wait...  to be silent...  to reach my hand into that haze... to trust... 



Tuesday, August 14, 2012

of breezes and sunlight

It came as a surprise as I sat in church that Sunday morning. Something was different. Very different. What had happened? What was this strange thing that was happening to me?

Upon reflection, I realized that the darkness had lifted and its place came sunlight, streaming through the open window. More than just sunlight, a gentle breeze wafted through the open panes. I had never experienced something like this before. I had never experienced God like this before.

Someone suggested that perhaps it was an answer to prayer. An answer to the despairing cry of my heart. I asked, "How long would it last? How long before all would go dark again?"

I understand that we do not live on the mountaintops; that most of life is lived in the valley. But this. This wasn't the euphoria of the mountaintop experience. Or was it?

I basked in the warmth and embraced the gentle breeze. The accompanying joy ran deep. Like a well. Deep. Refreshing. Cooling. Embracing.

And then I felt the other too. It too ran deep. Deeper than ever before. It didn't overwhelm; it didn't threaten to loom large. It was just there. Deep. Raw. I wept. Grief doesn't go away even when the sun warms and the breeze refreshes. In fact, maybe because of the two vast extremes that I was experiencing, the intensity of each was accentuated. Joy. Grief. Maybe because I had recognized and was drawing from the deep wellspring of joy that I was able to face the unplumbed depths of my grief. I no longer worried about when or how long. I wanted to embrace the moment.

The days turned into weeks. Two weeks of sunshine. Two weeks of feeling that gentle breeze.

And then. Morning dawned. It didn't take long for me to notice the difference. It was so obvious. It was, once again, dark. Not a heavy darkness, for while the window was still open, there were no more rays of sunlight. The air was still. How long will it be like this? I don't know.

I am thankful for having had a reprieve from this present darkness. I am grateful for having experienced the refreshing breeze. And now... I guess I will once again wait in the silence. In the stillness. Maybe one day the light will again shine through, dispelling the darkness. Maybe one day I will again feel God's gentle breath blowing through the windows of my soul. Only time will tell.

and my prayer? that until that day, I will remain faithful.

Monday, June 25, 2012

pondering thankfulness and acceptance

I read a couple of statements on Facebook recently:

The greatest thing is to give thanks for everything. He who has learned this knows what it means to live...

Thanksgiving is the evidence of our acceptance of whatever He gives...


I guess I'm just not there yet... 

and truth be told, I don't know if I can get there from here.  At least not any time soon.  My heart is feeling pretty ransacked and broken and acceptance of what is or has been given seems an impossible aim since the God who was always the 'fixer' became a 'wrecker' and I don't quite know how to reconcile the two?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

one more step

towards closure...  It's not all over yet; I have a few more steps to take.

This past leg of the journey has been an endeavor to find a way to turn the functional into a something of beauty.  This was my aim this  past week.  I have been trying to put together the final pieces and stumbled upon something that caused me great anguish and grief. I have been feeling significantly chastised for not caring enough to spend more money. But, I don't think it would have been what he wanted. Thus, my endeavor to make something quite beautiful out of a very functional piece.


I have poured hours into trying to find a solution. My initial thoughts were to use my Cricut, creating a design that incorporated a Celtic cross with the wings of an eagle. But then I got stuck. What then? What would look best in transferring the design? a reverse image leaving the cross/eagle black and the rest of the container in color?  if so, what colour? Or would it look better to paint the image and leave the container black?

Not knowing how to proceed, I continued my search for the 'perfect solution'. I recalled some ideas from Pinterest, spray painting soap containers. I gave it a try. I took an old soap container and played with an idea. I liked the outcome - a rather marble-ish look.

I took a deep breath. It was time to take my idea and see what I could do. I had only one chance. I prayed that I wouldn't botch it. The result?  It is mostly pleasing and I have something that I mostly like, but above all, I think he would have been pleased with the result. So it is with deep gratitude and a special thank you to my daughter for her artistic finishing touch that I will take this urn to its final resting place later this summer.

I'm not sure when that will take place. I have begun the process for designing the memorial plaque. It will most likely be towards the end of summer before all these final bits are in place and then ...  I will take one more step.