Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Feeling a little blue

A few weeks ago I came across a job description on Facebook that seemed tailor-made for me.  I wasn't actually looking for a job, but this one was so perfect that it sounded like a call, or like it could be a call, and so I responded.

The call came from Richard Rohr's Center for Action and Contemplation: they were looking for someone to catalog his works -- to write abstracts, create tweets, and confirm sources for his quotes -- and they wanted a writer with a background in library science and an interest in/understanding of Rohr's theology: a perfect description of me. Twenty hours a week -- I could easily manage that -- and work from home; again, perfect.

So I sent in my application, and they liked it enough to put me through a 24 hour performance test: they gave me meditations, homilies and quotes and asked me to produce abstracts, tweets, and sources, which I did.  It was fun -- I read a lot of Rohr, so it was a delight to find new pieces and summarize them, and it was a hoot searching for the root source of the quotations.  I felt certain I'd done a good job.

But as I did the work, I wondered: is this how I would want to spend 20 hours of my time every week?  I wasn't sure, to be honest, but decided to trust that whatever choice they made would be the right one both for them and for me.  And when notice came yesterday that, though my work had been excellent and my credentials impressive, they had chosen someone with more cataloging experience, there was a sense of relief.  Oh, I thought, now I won't have to carve out time in my schedule for this; I won't risk having to give up the things I'm involved in now.  And if cataloging experience was that important, I might not have enjoyed the job as much as it looked like I would.

And so I let it go, feeling certain that the right choice had been made.  But just because we think we're letting something go, that doesn't necessarily compute with our bodies.  What the head knows and what the heart wants are often different things, and so I went through the rest of my day noticing that though I really was comfortable with the decision, I was also sad.  So I was kind to myself, gave myself an extra scoop of ice cream for dessert, and spent the day finishing a novel rather than plowing through my usual to-do list... and tried to listen to the sadness.

And mostly, I think, the sadness was based in that constant low-level hunger we humans have for recognition, for identity, for association with the known.  It would have been fun, and I would have been proud, to say "I'm working for Richard Rohr." Of course it would.  But instead I will continue to carve out my own identity in the world; to focus on my writing, my painting, my acting, my service to the community -- and that feels like a call as well. 

So it's all good.  And all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.


Doris said...

Wow! I could be looking in a mirror! I, too, have a background in library science, and might have been tempted to respond to the job description had I seen it. I read job descriptions all the time, and think, "I could do that!", "I would like to do that!" Then, I look at my current commitments in this time in my life, and realize that I am just where God wants me to be right now. That is not to say I don't miss my days in higher education. Blue is a good color to express these feelings.

Debra said...

"But just because we think we're letting something go, that doesn't necessarily compute with our bodies. What the head knows and what the heart wants are often different things,"

Very helpful. Thank you! Entire post... but this caught my attention.