Monday, September 26, 2011

More Dreams and Nightmares and Longing

Why would I look to a job that will be full of roadblocks, irritation, and the prospect of failure when I have what is most likely a steady, rewarding job right now?

I am 
  • starting to pay off my tremendous debt (so slowly) (collected compliments of the OWCP).
  • respected by my co-workers.  
  • appreciated by my supervisor.  
  • challenged but not too much.
  • able to balance things enough to maintain hobbies, ministry, and a part time teaching gig on the side.  

Why on earth would I possibly even think of giving that up to work in a place where Big Brother will be watching, and I would be hemmed in and repressed and have my integrity challenged, my freedom in Christ squashed by legalism and politics, and many things I believe in opposed?  What could possibly be worth that? 
  • Tenure?  Hardly.  I won't even be considered for that unless I seek a pointless PhD, which I can't possibly do in my current haze of chronic pain and fatigue and reduced mental capacity.
  • A full time, long-term teaching post with benefits at a small, Christian, liberal arts college?  Well, quite frankly, those don't grow on trees, and even with the connections I have, I can't really hope to even try any other ones until I've been working part time for 15 years.  And I don't think I can keep this two-job thing up for 15 years.
  • A home closer to my family?  As you know, that's not really a consideration for me, cheerful loner that I am.  If I lived closer, I'd have to feel more guilty for still not visiting more than twice a year.
  • Being able to say my dream came true, and I was able to leave work I was merely good at for work that I was good at and loved?

I actually blame my current dissatisfaction on how close I came in the process last year.  Because things looked so rosy, I slipped up and let myself think of what life could be like it my dream came true.

And that made it so much harder to come back to reality when the dreams got stomped.  I had to admit that the idea of working in my current job for longer than it takes to pay off my school loans was . . . unpleasant.  (Of course, at the rate I'm going, that will be at least 15 years anyway . . .)  It is not a bad job, at all.
  • I indirectly help save lives.  
  • I directly help bridge communication gaps.  
  • I like my co-workers.  
  • I believe that doing anything and everything for the glory of God is my calling on earth. 

But I can't help how much I love teaching and how much I love teaching comp and how much I love teaching comp to students at small, Christian, liberal arts colleges and how much I wish I could focus my full vocation time on it.

I don't believe in Teaching Composition as a Holy Calling, but I can't help but feel that I will have wasted my life if this present situation is all there is to it.  I can't help but know that there is more to life than this.  I can't help but long for that more, even if I'm physically incapable of really reaching out and grasping it.

Maybe I'm just
greedy.  When things were

bad, I was
content (often discouraged

but certainly content).  Now
that things are "better," am I just
selfishly wanting more?

Should I be straining
Or should I be settling

All for the glory of God. 
Harder in practice than
theory.  Amen.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Nightmare on Dream Street, Part II

So something close (but not as close as last time) to my dream job is posted again.  After the grand fiasco that was the last time I applied (wherein I was rejected not based on my own merits [or lack thereof] or theology but because of petty administrative shenanigans), many would assume I would never want to even think about applying again.  These many are sensible, reasonable people. 

But darn it all if I'm not seriously considering applying again. 

I've been wondering what this says about me and have come up with several options.
  1. I am a masochist?  I don't really think so, or the last 8+ years of chronic pain would have been enjoyable.
  2. I am stupid?  The jury is still out.
  3. I am stubborn?  Well, this is a proven fact.  Is it possible that I am so attached to the idea of this dream that I refuse to give up on it even when it is obvious that I should?  You bet it is.  I just have to hope that if this is a bad place for me to go, I keep getting shot down until I get the message.
  4. I am . . . called?  Whoa, there!  I don't really buy this calling thing as it's flogged by modern evangelicals.  There are things we're all called to do as followers of Christ (love one another, love God, serve one another, do all things to the glory of God, etc.), but I don't necessarily think the only people who can teach (or missionary [yes, I'm using it as a verb here for consistency's sake] or pastor or politician or sell or whatever) are those "called" to teach (or whatever).  God calls us to be faithful no matter where we are or what we're doing.  But is it possible that sometimes the Holy Spirit nudges us in a certain direction, and we should pay attention?  Very probably.  So is this something I should pay attention to, or is it just (see #3 above)?  I have no idea.
I emailed my number one fan in the department to hear what he has to say.  (He's the one who felt so angry and embarrassed about how things turned out that he offered to resign as chair of the department in protest of the way they treated me.)  I'm asking him what he thinks.  He usually shoots straight (which is why I'm surprised he's been able to stay chair of the department for all these years) and I'll listen to what he has to say before I do anything further.

What are your thoughts?  Any other options you think this obsession indicates? :)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fortune cookie smiles

"You have a basic 
need for solitude some of
the time" makes me laugh

Do you think this is true of everyone?