Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Rise, and walk

Life has been insane. I've been trying to extricate myself from the stress and anxiety of my former job. I resigned over a month ago, some of you are no doubt thinking, and it's true! What I failed to let go of was that my horrible experiences have caused in me a somewhat strange crisis of purpose.

I have always put my mind and skills toward education. I taught, I coached sports, I advised student groups, I wrote and researched current trends in Education and Instruction, I planned events, and I raised money for institutions. For seven years I have solely given myself to this field, knowing that it gave me the place to display my talents, use them, and be appropriately rewarded.

Not knowing what field I want to enter next i experienced a sudden revival of anxiety and fear. How am I going to make a difference if I can't even pick a career to pursue?

I had to laugh at the depression this caused (and it's a doozee), because I've told so many other people that defining yourself through your job is foolhardy and dangerous because the nature of work is that it can consume your life so that there is no discerning between the two. One set of values for one life. One that may not appeal to who you truly want to become in the future.

So I'm feeling this pinch of finding work to share my gifts with those I work with, and the concept of noble work - doing something that goes above and beyond the ordinary. Thankfully, my reading of the day was from Acts of the Apostles, 3: 1-10:

Now Peter and John were going up to the temple area for the three o'clock hour of prayer. And a man crippled from birth was carried and placed at the gate of the temple called 'the Beautiful Gate' every day to beg for alms from the people who entered the temple. When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked for alms. But Peter looked intently at him, as did John, and said, "Look at us." He paid attention to them, expecting to receive something from them. Peter said, "I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give to you in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, rise and walk. Then Peter took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles grew strong. He leaped up, stood, and walked around, and went into the temple with them, walking and jumping and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the one who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, and they were filled with amazement and astonishment at what had happened to him.

All of my hypocritical logic, all of my emotional wrangling, all of that constant pressure to find 'the next big whatever' in my life is so clearly swept aside in this passage.

Peter and John - they get it. They have nothing - less then me, but what they do have they share freely. They heal, repent and baptize. They use the sacraments as given to them by Jesus to share the gifts of God.

They give the gifts of God first and foremost before considering any other gift of 'worth.' The grace of God pales money's significance and makes it nearly irrelevant.

Whenever we feel that way, we only have to go back to the source of our faith, back to Christ. We simply need to repent in the Order of Penance, attend the breaking of the bread, consuming our Lord's body, blood, soul and divinity in the Eucharist, and then with the Holy Spirit coursing through our veins we must

Give the same gifts of love, faith, encouragement, concern, care, forgiveness, and community to all those we meet. What we do does not matter - What we do for those we do it with, does!