This all meant, of course, that we were still far off balance. When a job still looked like a mere means of getting money rather than an opportunity for service, when the acquisition of money for financial independence looked more important than a right dependence upon God, we were still the victims of unreasonable fears. And these were fears which make a serene and useful existence, at any financial level, quite impossible.
Rarely do I experience a “this was meant for me to read it right now” moment, but this is one.
These were fears which make a serene and useful existence, at any financial level, quite impossible.
The nature of my job is that it happens, from time to time, that I worry about losing my job. It is regulated my many entities and the regulations and regulators fill volumes. My job is not protected or unionized in any way. If I am wrongly fired, the most I will get is unemployment payments. Another aspect of the nature of my job is that I work with fragile, fragile people. The fragility and the regulations and rules all combine to give me many opportunities every single day to do the wrong thing. And sometimes I do the wrong thing.
So it happens every few years, I think, that I worry about losing my job. That is happening now to me. And as usual I won’t know for some time how this particular situation will play out. It is not unlike waiting for tests results in fact, it’s a lot like that. Because all the while I know that while I’m focused on this, some other thing could be conspiring right now to bring me down.
Which it hasn’t. Not yet. Not one time that I worried, was I in danger. And my worries are couched in the cushiest of human circumstances that anyone ever had. It embarrasses me to list them. But there they are. If I lose my job I will not lose my – health insurance – marriage – children – home – pets – lifestyle – retirement – friends – sobriety – or anything else, really, but my job.
I love my job. I’ve been at it for almost 14 years and the experience and relationships are irreplaceable and precious. They are also not mine forever, but only for a time, and I don’t know how much time.
I have never looked at my job as a mere means of getting money. It’s hard work and it doesn’t pay well at all, not compared to what it asks. It has always been an opportunity for service and sometimes that service can be quite humble, like wiping someone’s butt. Financial independence rather than a right dependence on God? I have more of a problem with this one. Financial independence is important, and I don’t know that I could be serene without it. Depending on God is great, as far as it goes, but I know that as I write, people are starving to death for a lack of food, and that they could be me.
Am I missing something there? I know that I have far, far, far more than I need or deserve. I’m not really afraid of starving to death because of my circumstances, I think that I won’t ever starve to death. I don’t feel special or blessed or chosen in that way, just lucky.
But back to me and my job. The lesson I keep trying to learn better is that these times teach me I have only today. Today I have the job. These times help me appreciate, during the hard times at my job, that I have it and I love it all the more for having been afraid of losing it. That keeps happening to me, and I’m glad. I’m acquiring more serenity and appreciation as I get older and that is all good. And all due to the program.
And I feel like a bit of a failure that my anxiety peaks so high on these occasions. There’s something I’m missing. I’m not done learning yet.