Tag: work

crossroad blues

I went to the crossroad
     fell down on my knees
I went to the crossroad
     fell down on my knees
Asked the Lord above “Have mercy, now
     save poor Bob, if you please.”
Mmmmm, standin’ at the crossroad
     I tried to flag a ride
Standin’ at the crossroad
     I tried to flag a ride
Didn’t nobody seem to know me, babe
     everybody pass me by
Mmm, the sun goin’ down, boy
     dark gon’ catch me here
oooo ooee eeee
     boy, dark gon’ catch me here
I haven’t got no lovin’ sweet woman that
     love and feel my care
You can run, you can run
     tell my friend-boy Willie Brown
You can run
     tell my friend-boy Willie Brown
Lord, that I’m standin’ at the crossroad, babe
     I believe I’m sinkin’ down

— Robert Johnson “Cross Road Blues (Take 2)”

I am standing right at the crossroad right now.  I need to fall down on my knees and ask the Lord, “Where oh where do I go now?”  I feel lost, and I’m not sure how to find my way home.  The paths that I know are in front of me are, the road to seminary and teaching English in Japan for at least a year.  Other than that, its an unknown path.  My ever precarious finances may make the Japan option a little more difficult.  I’ll need to have about $2000 set aside to cover airfare and expenses when I first get over there.  Which is of course about $2000 more than I have set aside in savings at the moment.  The road to seminary feels like its a little impassable for the moment.  Leaving just the unknown.

I honestly don’t know what I am going to do, if not on the path towards seminary.  The Japan option would just be a short detour on that path more than anything else.  If I do deviate from the seminary path, then where do I go, what do I do?  Do I stay in Portland?

Right now, all I can do is fall down on my knees and listen for that still small voice.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2006/crossroad-blues/

discerning the possibilities

It has been an interesting few months for me and my discernment process.  I’m not entirely sure if it has completely broken down or just taken a few steps backwards.  As it is for the moment, my committee is scheduled to meet again on Aug. 18th.  I still have not completed the last “formal” assignment the committee gave me back in May.  However, I am going to work on the essays over the next week and see if I can’t get something done for it.

What I’m most trying to figure out right now is what to do in the near term.  I have an interview with a company to teach english in Japan on Aug. 9th.  I’m still trying to decide whether or not I’d take the job if it is offered to me.  On one hand, it’ll be an incredible experience.  I’ll get to live abroad for a year, work on becoming semi-fluent in another language and eat lots of sushi.   On the other hand, the timeline to head off to seminary will be most definitely postponed.  One of the things that I’m wrestling with however, is whether or not my summer hiccup hasn’t already pushed back seminary until at least 2008.  If I do end up accepting a position in Japan, I will probably move my stuff down to Eugene and do some temp work there until I leave in order to save as much money as possible.

If I do end up deciding to stick to the current course of action and stay in Portland there are things I must decide here as well.  Things with my roommate have still not recovered to a point where I’d like them to be.  I’ve made an effort to move on from the anger and hurt I felt from his actions of a couple months ago.  For the most part that has made things a lot better.  However, every once in awhile, I really get a little down because he doesn’t really make any effort to include/invite me in/to things even though I have.  So I’ll need to decide whether or not I need to find a new place to live.  It just sucks sometimes feeling so alone in a place, even though you have a roommate…and feeling alone even if he’s there.

So that’s where things are at for the moment.  I’m not sure if I’ll post again until after the discernment committee gathering on the 18th. 

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2006/discerning-the-possibilities/

the times….they are a changing

My process has gone into a bit of a self-imposed hiatus. While I have managed to pick up a temporary job that will allow me to have the money to cover August’s rent, my financial situation is still tenuious at best. Its a little frustrating to me, as I was finally making some progress on my path to seminary. While I haven’t had a lot of time to concentrate on this process in the past month or so, I have been doing a little work on it as well. I recently re-read Bill Countryman’s book Living on the Border of the Holy: Renewing the Priesthood of All. Once I get a little more settled with my current job situation, I’ll probably re-read it again, as there was definitely more that I wanted to delve into with that book. Especially in regards to my call towards an ordained ministry. I really like the idea though, that we are all priests in the church and that the “ordained” priesthood is just a sacramental priesthood and that we shouldn’t view the ordained/laiety groups as opposites.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2006/the-timesthey-are-a-changing/

discernment and the state of the state

I have for approximately six years been striving towards a goal of attending seminary and becoming an Episcopal priest. It has been a long journey to get there and get to the point where this goal was within site. One of the first things holding me up on this journey has been the completion of my undergraduate degree. Between my poor study habits and only going to school part time, this ended up taking quite awhile. However, with the completion of a French class this past spring I have finally completed the requirements to receive my degree. The second thing holding me up in my process has been moves. Sometimes this is just moving parishes in the same town, but it has also been moving cities as well. But all that aside, I am finally have a discernment committee going and am more or less officially in the process towards gaining approval to go to seminary on an ordination track.

Which brings me to the last couple of months. After a time of relatively little struggle and making some progress to my goal, I’ve encountered some difficult times. First, it was at a relationship level. Then just about the time that I was coming to terms with that struggle, my job situation went downhill. At the firm where I have been working there has been a lot of turnover among the office management. Eventually that has led to my dismissal as the last manager and my personalities did not gel. While this wouldn’t be as big of a deal in a bigger office, our office was basically a two person office. So it was important that our personalities were compatible.

So what does this all mean to my journey. Well, to be honest I’m not really sure. I have been struggling with some doubt in regards to it or at least the timing. I feel a little lost right now, in both my love and work lives. I’m struggling a lot with fear right now. What happens if my process stalls? What do I do if it does? What happens if I don’t find a new job quickly? I have faith…but I also have doubts. I still feel very strongly about my call to the priesthood, yet I struggle to put it in the right words. Most of all I wonder what is next for me. What do I do now…before I can go to seminary?

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2006/discernment-and-the-state-of-the-state/

what’s ahead (at least in the short term)

So I’ve had some time to think about the options for the next few months that I was considering last month.  I have decided that the Los Angeles option is not going to happen.  While it would be a great opportunity, now is not the time for that path.

As for the other option of pursuing some sort of mission work with the church…that is still on the radar, but as an attraction.  Its something that I will explore more if for some reason my current discernment process stalls for some reason.  For now I feel what is best is to keep going down the path I am already on.

It definitely did help that my roommate (and one of my best friends) has decided to stick around for awhile.  He was considering moving back to where his family lives (St. Louis).  So for now the status quo will remain in effect.  Though we do have start looking for a new third roommate as our temporary roommate from Quebec is leaving mid-May.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2006/whats-ahead-at-least-in-the-short-term/

how did i get here?

So I still seem to be struggling with articulating how I got to the point where I am now with my call.  Or more importantly…how I realized my call.  Its been such a long time that I’ve felt that the priesthood is my “calling” that I have in some ways forgotten how I got to this point. 

Vocationally, I have always felt most fulfilled in my career when I’ve working in positions of service.  I’ve had a few different jobs in my short career history. I’m going to touch on four of the significant ones (at least in terms of my vocational discernment).

First: (in chronological order)
My first longer term job during college was at LensCrafters in the lab manufacturing glasses.  This job wasn’t difficult on an intellectual level…once I learned the processes, it was in fact pretty mechanical/repetitive.  But I felt I was truely helping others to see, eventually learning more than just the manufacturing processes, but also many of the skills of an optician.  I think perhaps this when I first began to understand the rewards of living a life of service to the community.

Second:
My second long term job during college was working at Symantec in the Order Processing department.  This was an entry level job that I hoped would get me in the door to something in the tech support/desktop support/IT fields.  I worked there for about 2.5 years.  The last six months of this job was incredibely draining on both my physical psyche and spiritual self.  I think a large part of this, was that I wasn’t able to see my career as doing anything to serve the community.  Now I know that in a way I was serving the community and that in everything I do, I should be doing it in a spirit of humility and servitude.  I just wasn’t seeing it.

By this time in my academic career, I had also moved on to a goal of going to seminary as opposed to getting a teaching certificate.  Since my career at Symantec was stagnating, I decided to leave my job there and go back to school full time to finish my degree.  That way I could finally get started on my goal of going to seminary.

Third:
After completing my final term at the UofO, I began to look for a full time job to support myself while I began the process towards heading to seminary.  At first I looked mainly in Eugene, however eventually I had to expand my search to Portland, as I was having difficulty finding a job.  Part of the problem during this job search was I knew what I wanted to do for a career, however I couldn’t do it yet, because there was still this process to complete.  So in a way I was rudderless.  I ended up getting a job as an “Admissions Advisor” for an online university.  This was basically an inside sales job.  I emphasize inside because while all our leads were supposably “warm,” many of them were actually requesting some other sort of information when they gave us their information.  In our training we were told to find the “pain” of the person we were talking to and use that to help them complete an education and overcome that pain.  For example, this was not long after a couple of hurricanes had struck Florida.  In training we were told ways to overcome the potential students objections for reasons like “Well I don’t really have a computer because it and my house were destroyed during the hurricane.”  Our reponse was supposed to be along the lines of; “Well what better time to return to school and complete your education while you are rebuilding other aspects of your life as well.”

In the end, I could not ascribe to the philosophy of the place I was working.  I wasn’t comfortable exploiting the “pains” of the community for the benefit of my corporate bosses.  I began to look for another job, eventually finding something with a temporary agency at a substantial paycut.  This paycut was worth every penny in peace of mind however.

Fourth:
At my current job, I am a paralegal/office manager for a small local branch of a larger national law firm.  Our firm practices in consumer bankruptcies.  Once again I am in a position where I am serving the community.  One of the things that I really enjoy about this job is the added benefit of some intellectual stimulation and being able to utilize my administrative skills (which I feel to be one of my better skill sets).  For the first time in a long time, I am enjoying my job, despite it just being a job and not a vocation.  More importantly, I am able to live my “priestly” vocation in my current job.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2006/how-did-i-get-here/

a weekend in retreat (sort of)

the weekend was spent in spokane, staffing the prov 8 young adult & higher ed gathering.  the weekend went off with only a few minor glitches, and everyone seemed to have a good time.  this year’s theme was “turning off the noise” and the gathering was purposefully designed to encourage everyone to listen to the silence.  its not an easy thing…this listening for God in the silence.  my mind often wandered.  especially about what my plans should be for the short term.

my options are this:

First: stay here in portland, at my current job, continue the process, but probably be a little unhappy with my current job.

Second: talk to my friend in LA and see if he needs an assistant for next year.  possibily continue the process in the diocese of oregon, but if need be, start it in LA.

Third: look more into the international mission project from the national church.  possibly go to India or China (or some other place).

The key thing to reconcile with each of these options is my desire to start seminary in the fall of 2007.  Right now I’m really not sure which way I should go.  I need to get a little more information about each of the second two options though.

I have some more decompressing to do on this subject (and the conference), which I’ll have to do later.  My brain is still kinda mushy from the loss of an hour and the drive home yesterday. 

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2006/a-weekend-in-retreat-sort-of/

vocation

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, vocation is:

1. a. The action on the part of God of calling a person to exercise some special function, especially of a spiritual nature, or to fill a certain position; divine influence or guidance towards a definite (esp. religious) career; the fact of being so called or directed towards a special work in life; natural tendency to, or fitness for, such work.

b. The action on the part of God (or Christ) of calling persons or mankind to a state of salvation or union with Himself; the fact or condition of being so called.

2. a. The particular function or station to which a person is called by God; a mode of life or sphere of action regarded as so determined.

b. One’s ordinary occupation, business, or profession.

For at least six years I have felt that my call to the priesthood is to be my vocation. More specifily it will be the vocation of my life. It wasn’t until just a few months ago that I even had an idea of what a vocation I could do if I didn’t head off to seminary and become a priest.

One of my main tasks during this process is to convey to the people along the path that the priesthood is my vocation.

In my mind…its not a matter of if I become a priest, but when I become a priest. I can’t see a reality without that as my vocation. Sure, I could do something else and be succesfull and happy. But something would always be incomplete.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2006/vocation/