You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2007.

It’s incredible what kind of search words leads people to my blog.

Unemployment depression. Menial tasks. Underemployment. Worry and work. Mundane work.

Most of the search terms are about work or unemployment, depending on which side you’re on. Because I started this blog while I was unemployed, a lot of the writing is about that period of unemployment. Interestingly (I hope), I was able to blog the transition to having work, and then the blogs about underemployment started.

Here I am now, fully employed, a new contract signed and rady to go in two weeks, with a heart full of optimism. I know that there will definitely be times when I feel like the job is so boring that I’d rather watch the liquid paper dry, or that my talents and skills aren’t being used to full capacity.

But I don’t doubt that I’m in the position I’m at for a purpose. I can’t explain fully how I ended up here at this job, knowing the fact that it’s worked out so perfectly. I persevered through the mundane and menial tasks, the low pay, and sometimes the heat of shame. I faced whispers at work, blank stares and cold shoulders. But nothing stopped that sense of peace inside me (OK, sometimes that peace wasn’t always there!).

Keeping up with mundane work is largely about being able to keep your head down long enough to accomplish your work. I think every job has its tasks that we’d rather do without. We can think of thousands of other things we’d rather be doing with our time than reptitive key strokes on the numeric keypad. Yet, at the end of the day, being able to separate yourself from your work, and to come home to see a smiling child or be held in the warm, loving arms of your wife, and knowing that you’ve provided a pay cheque for the household, is probably enough reason to go back to work the next day.

Yes, there will be times when the job is no longer mundane, and you find yourself suitably challenged. Those moments when you’re able to shine and enjoy doing something engagning, make all those other hours of mundane work purposeful. If you’re trying to find purpose in your 87th hour of mundane work, don’t give up! There is always purpose to our lives.

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I got the contract proposal!!

After weeks of deliberation and reviews, meetings and discussions, my employer has agreed to take me on an 8-month contract, renewable, full-benefits, with a significant pay increase. I don’t know how to explain it all, but only as a great answer to prayer. Truly, it’s been an uncertain time for us, not knowing what will unfold in the future. The answer today tells me that I’m working for at least 8 months on a steady income and reliable paycheque. Very pleasing and happy news!!!

If you’re reading this and you’re unemployed, I want to tell you that I’ve been there. I think almost everyone has been there. There are dips and troughs in our lives, times of trials that demand first prayer and then patience. God knows what you need, so don’t fret. His promises can be trusted!

The longer I’m here at this position, the more I question what it is that God is trying to accomplish in my life. I mean, to be quite honest, I question God immediately after my pride boils up. In some respects, I question God only after I realize that my pride has swollen and my face starts to heat up. Wounded, I close my eyes and ask God to deliver me, to release me from these chains.

The situation that I find myself in is a real blow to my ego. I face the constant tide of mental irritations, those little thoughts that are never helpful in creating a positive frame of mind. And then there’s the whispering and innuendoes of co-workers, the “just a temp” lines. The air of superiority is infuriating: it goes against everything I abhor.

Despite knowing that it’s petty and meaningless, especially in light of eternity, I still find myself boiling under the collar. And after the boiling settles to a simmer, I question God, not with my fists shaking, but with a broken heart.

God has provided for me in so many ways. I suppose the boiling is a reduction of sorts, reducing my own ego to something that God wants for me. I do sense that God is trying to refine me, taking these emotions and bottling them up, tossing them into the ocean to be battered on other shores. So yes, there is a sense of awe when I think of how great He is, and how minor these life frustrations are.

After I finished lunch today, I happily opened an e-mail in my personal hotmail account. It was an e-mail from an Internet surfer who happened to come across my blog. He left a comment that needed to be approved, and I could only smile as I read the comments. The reason is that all the memories from about two months ago came flooding back in my mind.  At that time I felt so helpless, so confused, and my outlet was blogging (and prayer).

Now that I have proof that someone has read it and enjoyed it, the comment brings a new dimension to my blog. Knowing that some people at least read what’s on the page is enough to keep me writing, just to help that one person who’s struggling on a specific day. To read that someone was encouraged is enough reason to write. As some Christians have remarked, Jesus would have left 99 sheep behind to find the one stray one. That’s a beautiful image of who Jesus is.

It’s Saturday morning and Jasper woke up really, really early. We were up by 5:00AM, but now my wife is back in bed. I just finished an incredibly challenging and heartwarming story by Ian Brown, a Canadian author. I first came to know about him in a video documentary he made about his journey as a man. Essentially he asked questions about what it means to be a man in the modern world, and, as he was about to step forward into marriage, what it meant to his definition of marriage.

 Today’s piece in the Globe and Mail, Boy in the Moon, is touching because it reveals so much about his struggles, his searches and plunges in his life as he deals with a severely disabled child. His son, Walker, has CFC, an extraordinarily rare genetic disorder. Brown writes about the turmoil in his life, from his marriage to interactions with people. He writes about the joys of simple, everyday minutes in his life with his son, moments that we all take for granted.

The serious challenge for me, then, is to see Brown’s life in relation to my own, and to know that each moment we have is fleeting, like vapor, and needs to be captured. I was saddened to think that living with a severely disabled child could seem like both an endless tragedy and a darkened, soundproof hallway, where life seems like a cocoon.

Yes, I shed a few tears in sympathy because I don’t personally know what it means to live like that for each living moment. I cried when he wrote about his wife’s cries, “Where is my son?”  If you’re a parent, could you imagine living with a child who you could not communicate with at all, and you could not verify that he existed other than his/her physical presence?

I’ve been struggling with things in my own life, worrying so much that the stress begins to knot inside me, like a sailor tying some nautical fixture to an anchor. I worry about work, about paperwork for my wife’s visa, about the mountain of paperwork and foreign communication we’ll have to do to secure police records that are needed for her application…about money and resources, about time and aging, about health and food…

When do we stop worrying and begin trusting?

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What I’m reading now

"Wanderlust: A Social History of Travel," by Laura Byrne Paquet (Fredericton:Goose Lane Editions, 2007) "The Global Soul: Jet Lag, Shopping malls, and the Search for Home," by Pico Iyer (Toronto: Random House of Canada, 2000). "Outliers: The Story of Success," by Malcolm Gladwell (New York: Little, Brown, and Company, 2008).

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