Friday, June 5, 2009

Hard Times

It seems that there are plenty of people whom I know who are going through tough times, and unfortunately, I am no exception. These past few weeks, I have heard of more stories of tough situations than I care to recall. And the variety of trials are as varied as are the people. I can understand the value of such tough times from a spiritual standpoint. Just last night at my home group meeting, we had some great discussion about the importance of suffering in our maturing process. That doesn't make the suffering any more enjoyable, though. It only means that we are called to a higher purpose in the midst of our suffering. But at such times, what could be harder than holding onto a godly purpose? Thus, another important spiritual purpose to suffering is revealed. Who we really are, what we really rely on, what really matters to us are all revealed in our darkest times. And usually, we don't have much control or choice over what is revealed about us, or to whom. Those secrets that we so carefully manage and hide in our day-to-day life come creeping out (or bursting out) when we are emotionally undone.

Yet another question raises itself in my mind, especially as it pertains to times such as these, which is this: how can we share honestly about what is going on in our lives without complaining or whining? It is important to share about what we're really going through, but to do so without trying to fish for sympathy or affirmation from others as a way of trying to convince ourselves that everything is really ok. How much should we lean on the comfort of others without turning that person/those words into an idol? It is a difficult balance to strike, certainly. I am sure that it is something that works itself out on a case-by-case basis, but still worth considering.

I lost my job at Starbucks. I was fired for a simple mistake that I made, but unfortunately on the day that our district manager was in the store. Even though they did have grounds for letting me go, that does little to assuage the feelings of frustration. I really did enjoy this job and found it gratifying. Though it may have only been a job at a Starbucks, that doesn't mean that I'm glad to be out of there. I know that there must be something better out there, but it would have been nice to find that first before leaving Starbucks. It didn't help that I didn't see this coming. All of the sudden, at the end of my last scheduled shift, I was told that I was being let go, and that was that. No previous warning, nothing. Just one more thing to add to the list. And then it doesn't help the fact that I just had to buy a car because my old one was totalled in an accident. I'm going to have payments to make on that thing, and the idea of losing one's job shortly after taking on a new financial obligation is disconcerting.

My dream of an intentional community hangs by a thread, and a thin one at that. Unfortunately, one of the other people involved had to end her involvement, and that has been disappointing, to say the least. Where things stand right now, the entire dream could dissolve easily, but I certainly hope they won't. It will take more, take longer than I had originally imagined, but that doesn't mean that it won't happen. We will simply have to wait and see. What is most difficult about the process thus far is that some of my deepest regrets, my deepest insecurities have surfaced and threaten my peace of my mind. I wish this wasn't the case, but at the same time, I know that God can use my current circumstances powerfully to redeem even parts of my distant past that I may have kept hidden away for far too long. And there is no one telling me that the intentional community won't work and won't ever happen. I will simply have to take more creative steps towards seeing it come to fruition.

Much has changed, and much will continue to change, but in Christ, I can be assured that such change will ultimately be for the better. That much I do know.