new life and sliding into the skill set

Posted: August 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

Well all, I had hoped to do a sort of “hundred day blog” upon my return from Chicago to Rock Island, but thus far that hope has been thwarted by the simplest detail: I don’t have an internet connection yet. That has to wait for my first paycheck, so I’m about three weeks from easy daily access to my blogs. For now, I am composing offline, saving it onto a flash drive and then going in early to work to upload what I’ve written. It’s a workable solution, and not a *real* problem by any means.

But I know…you’re asking, “How’s it going?” I gotta tell you, it’s good.

We’ll start with my move made easy – my boss and a coworker came to Chicago to pick me and my stuff up. In general I detest the work of moving, but this time was pretty fun, what with the good company and strong arms and the all-important fact that everything I now own fits into the back of a pickup truck. We moved in the rain, but the weather cleared as we drove and my stuff was 99% dry upon arrival. We got in Saturday evening; even moving at a slow and leisurely pace, I was completely unpacked by bedtime Sunday.

My apartment is BEAUTIFUL. My coworkers had taken the trouble to completely equip it for me, from furniture to towels and linens to personal care items to dishes and even down to ziploc bags in the drawer. I KID YOU NOT! Who does that?! I’d love to put up pictures, but the few pictures I was able to take before the last batteries in my camera died are saved on my netbook, which I accidentally bathed in milk the other morning at breakfast. The netbook is in a plastic bag full of rice trying to dry out and I am praying that it wasn’t destroyed; thank God I still have the old reliable Dell laptop to carry me through, meanwhile. Pictures might have to wait until I get a home internet connection, or at least until I can afford new batteries for the camera.

Returning to work has been like one giant continuous hug. I couldn’t feel more welcomed. That goes a long way in soothing my sadness about leaving Chicago and JPUSA…I definitely do miss both very much. I’ve said it before, but not yet here, I think: I am very clear that sometimes God asks people to leave something good for something really hard. I feel extremely blessed that I only had to leave something good for something else good. I am intentionally embracing this goodness, fully aware that life is cyclical and I will surely have ample opportunity to know pain and confusion somewhere ahead on the path.

Have you ever noticed that some things are so much clearer in the rearview mirror of life? Returning to my job at the Manor is like that. For the past 9 months, I have worked as a caseworker at the shelter. I loved the job…it was a passion and a calling and I was always glad on Mondays to return to it after being away. Nonetheless, I was never silly enough to think I was GOOD at the job. Early on, I was downright bad at it, in fact. That was humbling; growing up a straight-A student, I didn’t have a ton of practice at sucking it up and dealing with less-than wonderful performance. Happily for me, God had arranged in advance a myriad of teachings and examples to follow when it came to something being “important enough to be worth doing badly until you can do it well.” Over time I grew and learned, and I suppose I was doing reasonably well, all things considered, though there was plenty of room for improvement. Still, if I were grading my performance as a caseworker, I’d never have given myself more than about a “C” even on my best day.

Coming back to the Manor, I am stepping back into my skill set. I am not saying I’m the greatest Executive Assistant that ever existed…but I am willing to say there are some things I’m pretty darn good at. And it happens that a whole bunch of those things fall under my job description here. I’m not gonna lie…it feels NICE to be good at my job. It’s like…imagine you have to drive all the way across the country. You have an old beater car that doesn’t look like much, doesn’t accelerate quickly, blows a lot of blue smoke, sounds pretty crappy, and the air conditioner is out. But it’s reliable. It gets you across the country with no major catastrophes. Eh. It’s fine, you know? After all it got you there safe and sound, and the view outside the window was amazing along the way. But then for the trip home you get something with big engine that sits low to the ground, something that turns nicely on the tight curves, that looks nice in the light, that makes that happy growly sound, that burns rubber when you stomp on the gas. You turn the stereo up loud and the AC down cold and race across the country in half the time it took you to get there.

That little analogy summarizes the difference between my ability in the 2 different jobs pretty well. I wasn’t good at being a caseworker, but I was blessed to be allowed to do it and to see and learn all that I did in my time at that job. I’ve got a few bells and whistles as I work my office job, and that feels pretty darn nice. And best of all: both jobs are full-time ministry…they just play out differently.

More to say another day, but methinks this one is bordering on “longer than people will read.”

Until next time…

much love,



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