December 8, 2009

Where Am I?

I'm a little disoriented in life right now, it's weird.  I like metaphors so let's go with one here...join me on a mental journey, will you?

When I say I'm disoriented, I mean I don't know how I got here, I don't understand my surroundings, and I don't know where I'm going or what's ahead.  All I know is where I am, but without this other information I don't where that is.  Take a look at this picture:

This is a good example of what I mean. I "know where I am", because I know I'm on a mountain top, with rock formations and trees.  But I don't know WHERE I am because I have no other stamp on a passport with a country, no map of where to go or clear view of what's beyond the next step or two.  No identifying landmarks to help me get my bearings.  This is what I feel like right now.

You're probably already a little sick of listening to me talk about my job, but you also probably realize that this huge transition will take me a very long time to make.  So naturally, this disorientation has a lot to do with my job.  This week I'm in Delaware again - I found out on Friday I'd be coming down for the week.  Next week I'm heading to a different part of the state for another client, so finding out that I was travelling this week too was a bit unpleasantly startling.  (Totally off topic - I have an incredible hotel room this time though, I'll tell you about it some other time:).)  In my first 12 weeks on the job I'll have been away for at least 4 of them.  Jumping ahead a here's "where I am", here's my mountain top:
For over two months now, I've been getting up early and working full days (even in high school and college I had to make arrangements to avoid this b/c my body wouldn't handle it).  I haven't been out sick or more than a few minutes late (partly an issue of adjusting to traffic).  I'm driving long distances or riding public transportation, walking (sometimes running) a few city blocks to do so, and shlepping heavy bags.  This week I have come down with a cold, but instead of moving down into my chest (so far) it's moved up into my head (I've been sneezing for days) which isn't good but is also less dangerous for me.  Even with my cold and travelling, I'm making it through my days, and a few hours overtime most of them.  I know that in the next few days I'll be going to a different site then back to this one during a horrible storm, attending two social events, travelling home then back out to another client, and managing a few large teen ministry events at my parish.  These are my rock formations and trees, the things a few steps behind me and a few steps ahead. 

But how did I get here?  How has my body (and mind, for that matter) been able to keep pace with this kind of schedule when it rebelled against it for 8 years?  I've begun taking Provigil again and got a cortisone shot in my bad shoulder and certainly these treatments are making a big difference, but both only began in the past two weeks and don't explain everything.  Did I do something else that enabled me to get to this place?  (Not to leave aside God's role, I'd count prayer and faith that He'll lead me through as 'things I may have done'.)  I have no idea how these pieces have fallen into place.

And this makes me nervous...if I don't know how I got here, how do I know if this is a stable mountain I could stand on forever or a volcano that could disappear anytime?  I don't know WHERE I am; I don't know WHAT this place is.  And it only gets more confusing...if I don't know WHERE I am or how stable it is or how I got I do I figure out where to go?!  What things should I keep doing?  Is this just temporary and no matter how hard I try I'm going to fizzle?  A clearer picture is emerging of what's ahead (mandatory (unpaid) overtime of 10-15 hours per week MINIMUM, worse weather, more travel, more new clients, and deadline pressures) but I DON'T KNOW HOW TO GET THERE LET ALONE THROUGH IT!  Talk about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...I may have figured out how to do something right, but I can't identify what exactly that was so I don't know what to do again!  I've recently realized that I can't plan out my future as much as I'd like, I need to just sit still and experience things for a while before making any decisions, and that realization is hard enough to swallow.  Now I have to also roll along repeating my trial and error efforts until I pin down what works or fall on my face?!

I don't mean to sound ungrateful, I try very hard to appreciate and be thankful for what successes I am given, but I believe God helps those who help themselves.  It's a beautiful picture, but I have to ask

WHERE AM I?!?!?!?!