Sunday, January 18, 2009

The View Today

It's almost noon. The sun is shining down upon about eight inches of new, confectioner's-sugar snow. Goldfinches and chickadees are flitting from feeder to feeder in the back yard.

Friday afternoon, coming home from my doctor's appointment, we had said that we'd better be spending Sunday prostrate on the church floor in thanksgiving. What happened instead, after packing and closing up Cold Comfort Cottage for the last time yesterday, was that we collapsed both physically and emotionally last night, fell into bed...and slept in. FT is still so exhausted that, after joining me for brunch (Christmas sausage from Pleva's, a wonderful butcher shop up north, and crusty panfried Yukon Gold potatoes) and attempting a morning game of Scrabble, finally begged off and wandered back to bed.

It's been that kind of week.

It's also been a week of reevaluation -- what it is I'm supposed to be doing on this earth. I hate to sound all cosmic about it, but when the Universe dope-slaps you with a fright that makes you come face to face with your own mortality, and the sheer randomness of your life on this'd best sit up and take notice, I think.

Which means I'm giving notice. I'm quitting my job. It's killing me. And I don't want to die. I want to live -- a life, as Jesus put it, brimful and spilling over. And I don't want to further subject my partner to my residual frustration and resentment and what I suspect are psychosomatic physical consequences of spending eight hours a day in a place I've grown to hate.

A church friend of mine used to be a fellow public servant, a caseworker for severely mentally handicapped adults. I'd run into her once in awhile in town, multiple clients in tow. Then one day she quit. She got a Master Gardener certification and went to work for a landscaping company. In her words: "I love my job now. I can go to work in the morning and know I'm not going to be kicked or bitten by anyone."

And that is the truth of it. You can only be kicked and bitten so much.

My reluctance to make a change has largely revolved around maintaining my health insurance. Which is I think understandable, especially for someone my age. But one of the "aha" moments in my past week was anticipating going through surgery and radiology whatever else lay in store for me...and still being enslaved to my job. And what if, God forbid, the news was the worst? What if in the last months of my life, a time when I should be in the business of making my peace and being fully present to the people I love and living fully into each moment that was left to me, I had to squander what tiny bit was left of my life at this job?

That was my no mas moment, I think; when my resolve solidified.

Of course, conventional wisdom says that I am being utterly foolhardy in making this decision. I understand that; believe me, that thought is what has kept me where I've been for the last four years at least. But then again, conventional wisdom has also said things like "You can never go wrong investing in real estate."

I -- before my departure from my employment was a done deal in my head -- enrolled in an online webmaster program offered through our nearby university's off-campus learning program that I am looking forward to, especially since Fellow Traveler and I keep running into organizations needing help with their websites and willing to pay or barter for it. My pastor is absolutely delighted that I may have some more time to devote to lay ministry. I would like to spend some quality time helping our food cooperative, a lively and positive place inhabited by other people who don't give much of a fig about conventional wisdom, who nonetheless lead healthy, fulfilled and intriguing lives. I want to spend more time at home -- our home -- being a real partner, not just a tired, sad lodger who slouches through the door at 5:00 p.m. and slinks out again at 7:40 a.m.

I have some money from the family legacy and my savings that should tide me over as far as COBRA payments for awhile. Fellow Traveler says we can, and should, do this. I agree.

One more week.


PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

A sincere O WOW and BEST WISHES. Wow. I was shocked when my husband did this a few years ago, but he had another job lined up, sort of, before he made the final decision. Afterwords I realized he should have done it earlier. My son is working for a large company which wanted him to do something that is unethical at best, and probably illegal. This is a job that required a specific college degree and pays all of $11/hour. He feels stuck for now because at that pay rate, he can't save money.

southernbooklover said...

Well, a second woo-hoo for you! This takes a lot of courage and I applaud you for it. Your life will blossom now. Sounds like you have plans to nurture it well.

Verdugo said...

I keep thinking of the scene in "You've Got Mail" where Maureen Stapleton tells Meg Ryan that "selling the store is the brave thing to do... You are daring to imagine you could have a different life." What Walter Brueggemann calls "prophetic imagination".

Congratulations! The best is yet to come.

I've got a feeling your "lay ministry" won't be "lay" for too long...

Processing Counselor said...

I left 15 years in the interior design industry and went back to school, after several years working for non profits, to get my masters in counseling. Started my masters at the ripe age of...I think 42-43. Graduated 4 years later, I did it part time and worked part time. Haven't looked back.

zorra said...

Yes. Just do it. Blessings to you.

Dr. Rural said...

Good for you! I'll be praying that you see the path you should take!

Mary Sue said...

Conventional wisdom can eat spit and lie.

Or something to that effect.

Go you!

Sophia said...

Praise Godde for the good news and this brave and exciting step of discernment! Best wishes and prayers on the journey.