Thursday, December 27, 2007

Where am I?

I just finished cleaning out the desk drawers and file cabinets in my office. There's one file I'm working out of and one drawer that still has supplies in it, but other than that everything is empty. And I feel lost.

On the two or three occasions I've cleaned out an office and walked out the door with one of those office boxes, I've always done so with an air of anticipation. When I turned off the light-switch in that office for the last time, there was a new job or a good promotion to look forward to; a new light-switch to turn on. This time when I flip that switch, someone has already turned on the light at the new place, and there's nothing to look forward to.

In the last week since I was informed I was being moved, at least a thousand thoughts have flown through my head. Things like:
Should I try to find a bank I can transfer to, closer to where I live?
Should I maybe look into other banks?
Or should I look at other professions?
Why did I bring our family to such a financial cliff that I now have to keep climbing instead of using this opportunity to broaden my horizons?
Is God punishing me?

And then there's the question from Adrienne......... no......... more like an observation. She said, "You being a banker doesn't fit the image I have of you." Adrienne, you aren't alone; it doesn't fit many people's. Thinking on that makes me ask, am I a banker? Do I fit that mold, that stereotype, that description? And if I'm not, what am I? To be honest, I don't know.

The statement I've heard a hundred times is, do what makes you happy. Really? You're going to feed me that crap? We no longer live in a culture where most people make career decisions based on what they're good at or what they enjoy. We live in a culture where most people can't afford to do the things that actually make them happy. Or rather there's a huge financial mountain they'd have to climb just to even entertain the ideas. And most people just can't muster the courage to get over that mountain. We live in a culture where most people work with only one goal in mind: to pay the bills. So we find ourselves having to earn a certain amount, and as such find a job that pays that amount. And those jobs aren't normally in the "makes me happy" category. (Normally.)

I sit here in that same bind. I sit with a stack of bills that I have to work to pay for. I am thankful that Ell and I have taken the necessary steps to provide an actual end to the madness, but for at least three more years that proverbial suffering continues.

And it leaves me sitting in an empty office wondering what my next career move is. I can't exactly just quit and focus on my garden or the two books I'm writing or hiking the Appalachian Trail; you know, the things that truly make me smile. None of those pay the bills we've amassed or get my lovely wife through school. (Which by the way, is her dream and does make her happy.) Sure, the book thing could make me some money, and the gardening thing would fill my pantry, and living on the AT would be cheaper than owning a home. But none of those are right in front of me now nor do they pay any of the bills due January 1st. And because of those bills, I'll be heading to the new job in a week just as I've been instructed.

I am blessed to have some friends who have taken risks to start their own businesses, or raise their families on one income, or pursue a more adventurous life. Each one of them inspire me and spur me on to my own greatness. So I know the dream is possible. But there are times I wish I didn't know them. There are times I wish I had no outside influence to show me that life can be fun and a job doesn't have to be a chore. Then I'd be happy in a job that didn't fit me and a life that was lived only to pay bills. But then I wouldn't see happiness, or worthwhile struggle, or fulfillment. So in the end I still thank God for these friends, but envy them at the same time.

I know there is something out there for me, and I know my God won't let me down. But right now I'm just so lost. I feel like I'm roaming with no goal or direction. The answer may very well be in the bank, or it may be something I haven't even thought of yet. Either way, I wish I could find it soon, because the trail isn't blazed very well from where I'm standing.

6 Comments:

Blogger hennhouse said...

I don't know what to say, Sam. I'm praying for you.. that God has yet to reveal the plan... that a new dream will be born of this move... that you will have peace with the uncertainty. I love you.

1:32 PM  
Blogger Kyle said...

I don't know how much this relates, but I've been thinking a lot lately about vocation. I used to think that vocation meant finding the career that God wants me to do (thats what Luther said)... but I'm not so sure any more. I know that God wants me to live a life of love. So what the heck kind of job does that leave me with?

I wonder if you struggle with the same kinds of questions I struggle with.

I also wonder how many other people are struggling with the same thing. I wonder how many people are working crappy jobs just to pay off the mortgage, put food on the table, and buy enough crap to make it look like they have it all together. I wonder why the heck we can't ask each other for help once in a while and band together to beat the mammon monster. I see so many people swimming in debt and so often the excuse is that "its inevitable." what if it isn't? what if after I get out of college I live with somebody else who already has their hens sitting in a row until I can afford to live on my own. What if two families that are struggling to make ends meet would just say "screw it," to trying to make the life they've set up work and live together for a while so they only had to pay half the mortgage. what if we let go of that stupid american dream for a while so that we could eventually start living it? I think it would mean making sacrifices-- the kind of sacrifices that you have to make when you decide that holding on to your job isn't worth the royal screwing the big guys in suits are giving you and taking the $15000 paycut to start working somewhere else...

I'm sorry if I seem rude, but I see so much potential in sharing in community. Perhaps its time to give up the old log cabin and join a friend or two in a good old game of share the mortgage payment, or maybe its time to give up some of your privacy and space and bring a friend on board at the shirey house to ease your bill burden a little.

I love you sam, and I look up to you. I know no matter what decision you make you wont make it until you've prayerfully thought it through, and it will certainly be a wise choice. You have a loving family and a wide circle of friends that will be behind you whatever you do. I'll be praying for you as you start to blaze your trail.

2:15 AM  
Blogger Kristen said...

Well, I am sorry for your feelings of lost and possible confusion about what is next, I would like to commend you on putting your thoughts and feelings to words and actually writing them down. I'm told that can been really therapeutic. Good job! I don't want to tell you what to do, that is not what little sisters are for, but I (like my big sister) will be praying for you to find direction in this crazy world. I guess I am lucky that although I got a job just to be able to pay the bills, and it is tiring and hard on my body, at least I do love what I do. No I could not raise a family on it, but for a part-time second income it is fabulous. Hang in there, He is faithful and will deliver you from your uncertainty. Have faith and keep an open line of communication with your Lord.
We love you!!!

-Kristen

4:08 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Brother you've done so much for Lisa and i in prayer. i'll do my best to return the blessing on our end. please keep us posted as you face this challenge.

5:47 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Appreciate you sharing what's going on inside of you. I personally am still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

Kyle's thoughts are quite thought provoking. Most of my thoughts about vocation seem to center on my and my happiness and what will fulfill me. Maybe community should be more in my thinking.

9:08 PM  
Blogger Zooomabooma said...

I've gotta tell ya, from a distance through blogging, my impression of you would never be banker.

The way you spoke about woodworking/carpentry and writing and now with this job situation, my feeling's been that you don't belong in a bank. I could be way off here... but, man, I think God's got something else in mind for you. It's just up to you to really give him some of your extra time and figure out what that is! Bein' on the path that He has planned for you includes every facet of your life including how you earn a paycheck. And remember, He's not gonna put before you anything you can't handle. Punishment seems like a very harsh word. Maybe more like a test.

As always, I'm prayin' for God's perfect will to be done in your life. No worries!

2:41 PM  

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