I had every intention of blogging again, but life got in the way. “Life got in the way” is a funny thing to say isn’t it? What do I really mean when I say that? It is along the same line as “there’s just not enough time in the day” or maybe something akin to “I’ve been so busy fighting fires”. Here’s the truth behind the idiom for me: The way that my life is currently organized (or disorganized, as the case may be) is not allowing me the space or the energy that I need to allow me the time to write like I want to. I’m taking the time today because someone reminded me I even had this special space by “liking” it when they became a new follower through Twitter (thank you!).
When I checked in and realized I’d not written anything since I said I would over four months ago my first reaction was a gut-wrenching guilt. Because I’ve learned that this reaction isn’t usually warranted, I took a deep breath and thought about why I felt this way. I feel guilty because I’m not living the life I want to live. That life includes writing. It includes more time in nature. It includes so many activities that I don’t have time for…at least not yet. But, I am almost at the end of a seven year journey since answering God’s call to ministry and I’m almost there. But I’m not there yet.
SPOILER ALERT – what I’m about to share is going to sound a lot like complaining. It’s not. It is just the truth. Keep reading through the discomfort… because like every good story, there is hope…
This journey has tired me out. It has included many highs, but also many lows. There has been incredible success and momentous failure. There has been great joy and devastating sorrow. This journey saw the end of my marriage, selling my family home, letting go of my yoga business, graduating from two universities, and serving in ministry appointments in multiple congregations. Through it all I have lost friends and colleagues. I’ve travelled through a disappointing number of romantic relationships that all ended eventually and not always amicably – sometimes even dangerously. In the midst of these highs and lows, God sent new people to walk this journey with me and I’m learning (slowly, even stubbornly) that I don’t have to walk it alone even if sometimes I think I should.
I think it is important for me to remember the financial cost of this journey has been high. I have been a low-income earner for the last four years. My income has been well below the poverty line most of that time. That is humbling to admit. Thanks to my privilege, a reliable coparent, supportive parents, and access to credit and loans, I have survived, but not without considerable debt. When the credit and loans ran out and I wasn’t in school full-time anymore, it was necessary to find access to more income somehow. The ability to find work when I need it is also thanks to my privilege and for that I am grateful. If you don’t understand that, I’ll unpack it for you sometime, just ask. For the last 18 months, I have 3-4 jobs at any given time just to make ends meet. But, I am rich because I choose to live in gratitude and abundance, not fear and scarcity. My daily prayer is to have the serenity, courage, and wisdom to make that choice.
In addition to the financial cost of answering this call, the toll on my health hasn’t been cheap. It is challenging to take proper care of myself while having so many responsibilities pulling me in so many directions, but this is the cost of my choices. I chose to leave my marriage. I chose to complete two degrees in five years instead of stretching it out so I could work more. I chose other things over my yoga and meditation practice that holds me in balance in so many ways and my self-awareness waned as a result. I live with chronic pain and didn’t recognize the difference between this pain and the pain of injuring my sciatic nerve until I needed an ambulance. I have permanent nerve damage as a result. There has been a cost to my mental health too. Keeping the symptoms of the PTSD I have lived with for 19 years at bay is so exhausting in times of stress. I’ve always held onto the truth that all things change and that life is temporary. This is a powerful medicine and it has helped me through so much.
So maybe four jobs, two kids, multiple congregations and yoga communities, relationships, debt, and health issues made me use the excuse that “life got in the way” of blogging. But life didn’t get in the way as much as life happened. But, there is GOOD NEWS! The scientist in me has done a cost vs. benefit analysis and I can tell you that it has all been worth it – every single moment has been worth it and I have no regrets because I have lived authentically at every turn.
Here is what I am about to benefit from as a result of the costs I have incurred: I have been called to a congregation. That means I am about to become a full-time ordained minister in the United Church of Canada (on May 26, 2019). Thanks to that, I am about to put down roots in one faith community and form relationships with a congregation that doesn’t have a set end-date. Thanks to that, I am about to have the space and energy to move into the rhythm of routine that allows for the balance between professional and personal that I so desire for my life. Thanks to that, I am about to have one job that pays me enough to start to pay down my debt. Thanks to that, my current way of life is about to radically change into the life I have felt called to lead. Thanks to that, I feel like life is not in the way. Life is the way.
Following this call has not been easy, in fact, as you’ve just read, it has often been a struggle. But, every step of this journey has deepened my understanding of myself, of others, and of God. Who could ask for more? So, the next time I am tempted to use “life got in the way” as an excuse for not doing something I really want to do, I think I’ll come back to this post and remind myself that life is the way. I will remind myself that if I am really called to do or be something it will happen. I will remind myself to keep moving forward even when it feels like it would be easier to just give up and go back. I will remind myself that life doesn’t get in the way when something isn’t happening in the timing that I think it should, but life is this journey and it will always lead me to where I am called to be…eventually. Thanks be to God!