28 May 2008

13 weeks

Is 13 weeks too long to stay in a job I dont like? Assuming I keep with the trend of no one else wanting to hire me, and stick it out with my current job until my parents come, I will be here another 13 weeks. That is minus a week of vacation in the middle there somewhere. so do I stick it out? or do I leave before hand and just do temp work?..... really why cant I win the lottery?!

21 May 2008

Abbott Christopher, Jospeh and little ole' me

There was a show on the BBC last year called 'The Monastery'. It chronicled the lives of 5 ordinary people. A PhD from Cambridge, a painter from Cornwall, a publisher from a big firm in London, a producer of porn films and a retired professor. I guess I use the word 'ordinary' loosely. But nonetheless, they were people from the normal hustle and bustle of life, no one was overly, if at all, religious. Some were married, some were single, some were workaholics, one was a recovering alcoholic, but all wanted to find an escape, a sanctuary from the busyness of life. They all agreed to move into a monastery for several weeks, be filmed, do interviews, and most importantly, be open to change.

I did not watch the show when it was aired, but I have the book. It was written by Abbott Christopher Jamison, one of the heads of the monastery where the show was filmed. He wrote not specifically about the five men that the BBC followed, but more broadly about the idea of finding rest, sanctuary and ultimately, peace with ourselves and God. The goal is to give monastic principles that are valid and beneficial to a life lived outside of the confines of a spiritual retreat. It is an amazing book. And it has got me thinking.

Abbott Christopher speaks a lot about finding silence. Not just the absence of words, but a true quietness of mind and heart. I love to talk, and I pretty much hate silence. Upon reflection, I have found that I tend to create 'noise' even if it is unnecessary. For example, I always have music or the TV on when I am in the house. When I commute to and from work, I like to have the iPod on or be talking on the phone to someone. If I am trying to go to sleep, more often than not my mind will play through the days activities and I end up with lots of anxiety 'did I do that?' 'why did I say that' etc... I find it hard enough to have peace and quiet in my physical life, let alone my heart and mind. But I do pray and reflect and process things...so what harm does it do really?

It is a well known fact that I hate my job and strongly dislike the flat in which we live. Both are so awful that at some points it becomes rather humorous. I have prayed and prayed until I am blue in the face for a new job and a new place. But all to seemingly no avail. My thinking is that I am not happy in either, so I should get out. Why isn’t God helping me? The thing is I haven’t really stopped to think about why I am in either one of those places. I haven’t 'quieted' myself before the Lord and really prayed about why He wants me exactly where He has put me. I am too busy being annoyed about the train delay yet again or the faded blue carpet in the bathroom to really be still and KNOW that He is God.

Waiting is hard. Silence is hard. Trusting is hard. So despite my good realizations, about mid way through the book I got really annoyed. Why in the world does God require all these really difficult, abstract things from us? I am not asking for an easy life, with no hard work and everything handed to me on a silver platter! I just want something to go smoothly and work out how I want it to. So why all the waiting, trusting, praying, hoping,...and then some more waiting? Being annoyed is putting it mildly! I was so frustrated, it seemed that everything was out to get me, a personal attack. (Gosh, talk about becoming high strung!)

Then I was reading through Genesis. Specifically the passage about Joseph. So he was favoured by his father, but hated by brothers. That must have really sucked, especially if you were a slightly nomadic, herding family. It’s not like Joseph could just go to the local pub and make some new friends. If his brothers hated him, I venture to say that he was pretty lonely most of the time. But then, they decide to kill him, cause that would make all their problems magically go away. But oh wait, we'll just throw you down an old well instead. But wait, let’s sell you to some travelling traders. That is an even better idea. So off poor, abused, abandoned, broken Joseph goes. Or at least that is how I would feel. Totally deserted, attacked and left to rot away on my own. Instead Joseph trusts in the Lord. Never losing his faith. He is taken to Egypt, trusted, made lord over the Pharaohs house and affairs. Wow. Quite a high profile, cushy role. But then, he is falsely accused and thrown in jail. Two years he sat there. TWO YEARS! He helps a fellow prisoner who agrees to remember him once on the outside, but he doesn’t. Joseph is again forgotten and left to rot. Again, more frustration on my part about my awful luck of yet again being forgotten and mistreated. Poor me. Instead of complaining though, Joseph trusts that the Lord has a plan. And he waits. Finally he is released, and through a series of events made second in command of over all of Egypt on the same day as his release! All because he trusted that the Lord has a plan and was faithful to wait it out. Hmmm....

So what harm is there in my always wanting noise, fast answers and my way? Well, instead of making the most of the situation I am in I complain and, well, basically feel sorry for myself. Joseph was in prison and even there he remained faithful to God. As a result he was made head of everything within the prison system. He got special privileges because everything he did prospered. Why? Because the Lord was with him. But instead of doing that, being quiet, trusting and waiting, I moan and complain. I want a fix within my time table. I want a peace and sanctuary now, on my terms. Too bad it doesn’t work that way.

Abbott Christopher talks about finding a quiet place and just listening, even if it is for 5 minutes. Really taking the time to make a habit of being quiet before the Lord and wait on Him. The goal at first is peace and quiet, but the end result is always drawing closer to the heart of God. Joseph was so focused on God that he was able to speak with confidence and assurance about visions from the Lord and what He was planning to do. He was willing to quiet himself in trust, and He was with God and God with him. So I ask myself again, what harm is there in noise, fast answers, lack of consistent trust? Perhaps the answer is that I am robbing myself of peace that is right in front of me; maybe I am missing out on an opportunity that God has given me; or it could be that I am not growing and learning the things I should be. But perhaps the core of the issue is that I am sacrificing valuable time that could be spent drawing closer to the heart of God.

12 May 2008

I truly understand

I am not sad, depressed, upset or overly excited. I am not laughing at a funny joke. Yet I am crying. Tears streaming down my face. And I cant stop it. I finally understand the expression "bored to tears" I am absoultley bored to tears! There is no other way to describe it. Nothing at work in stimulating. Instead it is mind numbingly boring, forcing my brain to slowly drip away until there is nothing left. I consider myself a patinent person. But I have reached my limit. I am rapidly running out of patience with the job and everything associated with it. I will not be able to handle such an anti-social, counter productive enviornment for much longer. So what to do?


They call it the 'Travel Bug' and I have caught it. But to me it’s more like the terminal version of the bug. It’s a disease that never goes away, never satisfied with one trip, or two, or three. Instead it's a continuously growing infection, eating away at every aspect of my mind and body until all I can think about and plan for is a giant round the world tour to every country imaginable. I am still looking for the job that will pay me to this. or the winning lottery ticket that will enable to do it regardless. But until then, I will be jealous of everyone who gets to travel. James Hill, Andy McTavish and Devi Abraham are the most recent subjects of my jealously. They are all taking off within the next couple of months to travel around the world.

I am not an office person. I don’t do well sitting at a desk for hours on end. My family has always called me a "free spirit" never wanting to be tied down, always on the go. I never realised how true that was until I got stuck in an office job. Rhys is the same way. Which is wonderful because it opens the possibilities to explore together, but is awful on the same note because then we both feel stuck in boring, useless jobs. I will keep searching, the right 'travel' job is out there somewhere....until then I will be a bit downhearted and live vicariously through my friends who are travelling.

I am not whole heartedly behind the idea that travelling in the answer. I want a house, kids, friends, some roots. Those things are hard to come by being a nomad. Since not everyone i know and love desires to travel with me for the rest of our lives....that does limit what I can do and how far I can go. So what to do?

Lonely Planet.

That’s right. Lonely Planet is the answer. Well, that or some other travel guide who does the same thing. If only they wanted to give me and Rhys a job of writing for their guide books. If only. But until then I will sit at my desk, for 8 hours a day. Min mind slowly wasting away to nothingness, wishing it was different. Being bored to tears.

a few comments

So its mid May already. I wish I had exciting things to report on, like a new job or a holiday planned. But instead its the same old things, every day. But to liven it up a bit, here are the things that have been said to me recently, as the good and bad of my everyday life.

1. On the train this morning I got yelled at for standing. Yup, just standing. Apparently the man wanted to stand right where I was because the train doors happened to stop right in front of me, ensuring I would get a seat. While I was pleased with picking the right place to stand, he greeted my joy with a "f*%!*g girl in the way, what the f%^*! is your problem, get the f%"*! out of my way I need to sit down" gotta love the commute, always a great way to start the day.

2. Once in the office I got a call...."since I am really busy and you are not as important as me, book me into a hotel for next week wont you" hmmm....nice.

3. over the weekend I got this...."oh it was your birthday last week?...how old are you 19, 20?" well, 26.... so close...... nice to know that I still look like a teenager though.

4.Walked into the local rugby pub at the weekend for a Saturday night drink. I was greeted by an array of 'Hey' and 'Hiya', followed by lots of hugs and kisses. Mmmm...that is nice! Always love an exciting welcome. I do love my friends.

5. But my favourite comment so far is from some co-workers who just returned from an off site meeting in Oklahoma. "I was expecting dry, barren land with Indians, tee-pees and cowboy hats! It was actually green with normal people! What a surprise!" Really?! Is that really what people think about Oklahoma? Bare foot, cowboy hats and Indians? hmmm...interesting.

9 May 2008

copied from Devi's blog (and i love it)

Please tell me she'll go away

As her speech staggers on, after the gas tax holiday gambit, and a plea for Burma, she eventually turns to Florida and Michigan. You almost want to look away. But it’s fascinating in a way. She cannot concede; she cannot give an inch; she cannot acknowledge reality. Observing sociopaths in close detail as their world collapses around them and they cannot absorb the truth is always fascinating. And yet some sliver of humanity is discernible: her tone is altered. Even she cannot fake enthusiasm or confidence any more. And Bill seems grim. Chelsea seemed close to breaking into tears.

If you want another president whose own grip on reality has little relationship to the outside world, then you know who to vote for.

- Andrew Sullivan, The Daily Dish