it has been 4 years since i left my job, my family, my world as i knew it behind. why? in search of what? well, i suppose it was in search of myself. it is so easy to get caught up in life, in the life that you create for yourself. and then perhaps, one day, you wake up & don’t recognize the person staring back at you in the mirror. one day, if you are lucky, you realize that what your soul is singing out for and what you are living from day to day just doesn’t match up. and you wonder, is it possible to be the person that i really am? do i really know who that person is? and furthermore, do i have the courage to listen to my soul & explore the possibilities that life offers?
well, i’m not sure if it was courage, stubbornness, selfishness, determination, or what… but four years ago, i decided it was high time to reconnect with myself, and in fact, truly meet myself for the first time. i had had enough with living up to every other persons’ expectations, thoughts, ideas, or dreams for me (and all – almost all – of them had very good intentions for me). still, it was time i listened to myself – and it took a crisis/betrayal in my previous marriage, 4 years of graduate school, a fantastic job in a church with amazing people, and 5 more years before i was really heard my inner voice & was ready to respond. but, when i finally did, i responded by asking for a divorce, quitting my job, selling & giving away most of everything i had, and moving to denmark with absolutely no plans whatsoever, only the hope of finding a job in a church where i had some friends.
well, i didn’t find that job, or they didn’t have the money to hire me. but, i did find the love that completes me & makes me whole… you see, lina moved to denmark too. and here, we realized that we were it. the real deal. we found what we had both been missing (we had already known each other for a while. a longer story for another time).
fast forward four years to today. i didn’t stay in denmark, but moved back to the states – to teach again, not work in the church. i was denied the joy/privilege of completing the ordination process in the united methodist church because i was now married to a woman. so i admit that i gave up on the church – feeling disappointed & frustrated. but i was determined to keep fighting at the same time. why? because i had met myself, and i knew who i was from deep within my core, and it was not possible for me to live & breathe without using my education as a minister/pastor/spiritual guide/teacher in whatever i do. so, i decided to do it outside of the church, especially when i moved to sweden. and i did. i began to write & blog more. and i felt my soul singing.
but, before i knew it, there was this crazy opportunity to get a job in the church where i attended off & on (veeeery off & on. i still had problems with it.). the job was for only 10 hours a week, but it was something. and i felt proud to be able to say that i had acquired a job in sweden after living here for only 1 year. but, did i want to return to work in the church after 4 years? is that who i was now? or ever? would i be locked in a box? could i forgive all that had happened – the rejections based on who i loved? did i want to forgive & move on?
well, i couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get a job & have some money, and use my education. something inside me tugged at my heart to follow this through. so with reservations & excitement, i accepted & began work as a youth minister in the church again last september. but only until december – it was a project. however, the new year rolled around & they wanted to keep me, and i, them. so i was hired again for january until june of this year… and for 20 hours a week now. yes!
and then yesterday happened. it was proposed to the congregation that my position become a permanent position. not a project for 6 months, but that i am the youth minister. i work there permanently (still 20 hours/half time. for now, they said). the congregation voted, and then it was so. me. back in church. working. with a real job. and how do i feel? amazed!!!
four years after i left my job in the states, tried to find one in denmark, and then realized that i needed to just let things be, i am back where i belong (and i don’t necessarily mean just the church – though that is part of it – , just back where i belong period). and i needed all this time to understand that this is where i belong. this is me. i ran from it, i fought it. i was disappointed in it. i hated it. i loved it. i longed for it. i was rejected by it. but, in the end (at least the end of this part of my journey – who knows what comes next?), i found myself. the same person that i have always been, but in a completely different way… changed & transformed from the experiences of the past 4 years.
i listened to my soul. i took one risk after another, afraid of losing it all at one time. but, i listened. and my soul sang for me. and here i am. just me. there’s no use trying to be anything else. we all have been created to be exactly who we are, the challenge is to find the courage & the strength & the craziness to listen to that inner voice, telling us to just be…. well, us.
so, on this monday, embrace everything that you are. love yourself a little bit more. and do what makes your soul sing. it makes all the difference in the world – for you, and for everyone around you.
peace, love, understanding, & rainbows.