Skip to main content

Living the dream?


I was tidying my study today, and as I hung some artwork up, I noticed a scrap of paper flailing under the whiteboard. It was my exit strategy from the job I am, a list of the things that needed to be achieved before I could move on.

Without wanting to sound arrogant, they are all done. I have continuities in place, I have funding there, I have trained people. I have done what I set out to do. I have grown an indigenous lead church in a challenging estate. I have set up a relational project so in four years the church could know the names of every teenager in the estate (mental note to self, should have taught people how to learn names). I have seen people touched by God’s spirit, healed in body and in soul.

This is what I came into this line of work for. I am living the dream.

But it doesn’t feel like living the dream. It feels like hard, costly work. I started taking medication today for what might be a work induced stomach ulcer. Some might put it down to my drivenness, and they may be right: or it might be the gradual needling of every passive aggressive email, every rumour, every miscommunication, every piece of graffiti rubbed out, every chair moved.

I am not alone in this. I know a bunch of people in our late thirties, all of us doing what is in our God given DNA to do, and finding it hellish.

And so I wonder, are we merely a bunch of people who are relentless in our pursuit of perfection, shy of pain and unable to take the heat? Its possible. We grew up in the age of comfort, things were always getting better around us.

Or are we simply unprepared? The people on the stages who told us we are a chosen generation, that we would do amazing things for God forgot to mention that it would be hard work.

They forgot to mention, and we neglected to read, that the saints that we celebrate today, had more days like this than we care to remember. Mother Teresa’s calling brought on a dark night of the soul that would last for years. She was not alone.

I guess the reality is that seeing the kingdom come is hard. It remains as it ever was a matter of death and resurrection. Every day we pick up the cross and choose to die to self, to die even to what we believed living the dream might feel like. And then we are raised with him who promises that one day the hard bit will all end, and surrounded by those who have walked this way too, we will know no more crying or pain or tears.

Comments

liz h said…
Praying...

I wonder what state you would be in if you were trying to do the job without having been called to do it?

Amazing that you have achieved what you set out to do.

Popular posts from this blog

NO MORE MAGIC BULLET- or why I have stopped watching the West Wing

I love the West Wing. It still rates as one of the most well informed and influential series of the genre. Its speeches have been stolen by people who have osmosed its hope for a better way of doing politics. When we watch it today it holds a very particular kind of resonance because it demonstrates a civility that has been drowned in a sea of hate. It has positive images of a wrestled out faith, is rich with camaraderie and pith and is just good telly.
But its bad for me. 
It pains me to admit this, but the West Wing makes me think I can change the world in a way that is simply not helpful. 
It holds out the present hope that the world can turn on a single conversation. With the brave statement or right turn of phrase one might change the debate, and in turn might change the world entire. The moment in the Oval where they realise that if they take no credit they can save social security. The moment where Donna remembers to pay welfare payments. The realisation that all the NATO people a…

Falling out with Football

Some of my earliest memories are of Sunday mornings. There was one which seemed to involve being in a big hall colouring pictures, but I didn’t much like that, so the memories that have stuck are of sitting outside. Now, I love outside, it calms me, so pretty much any outdoor activity would have held some thrall for my turbulent child self. But the family Sunday activity was football.
When I was very small my Dad played. He was past his glory days by the time I can remember. The cartilage in his knees had run out before the rest of his body- and so much of my memory of him was as he “ran the line”.I’m pretty sure he sometimes did that in wellies, but its been a long time.
Sunday football was part of our life. We would go to the game and then mum would join us as we had drinks at the social club next door. It’s why I drank beer from the age of eight and could snaffle my way through about a thousand calories of crisps in a sitting.
And then we would go home, have a massive roast and w…

What's Next? 8 ways to move on..

It is still early, only twenty four hours since many of us woke up to find that what we had hoped did not happen. The referendum, for many is lost, and the reaction is fierce. What follows are a few ideas of how to navigate the next wee while.
Be Real If this hurts, hurt. If it make us feel scared, be scared. Anger and blame are great displacements- and they have their moment (which is still now, don’t just squash it) - but get as close to the real feelings as you can. And take that moment to acknowledge that for many of us part of the challenge is that we are not used to getting our own way.
Be Kind If you are reading this, the outcome is worse for many other people. They may have voted for it, but they will suffer. Be kind. And be kind to those who are very fearful. Being an EU worker at this moment must feel pretty grim. Be kind.
Switch Off How many of us have run our phone batteries dry in the last 24 hours? The urge to check social media and keep abreast of what s going on is…