Thursday, July 17, 2008

a life less complicated?

When I was younger, I had vigor and passion. I had a sense of calling, I dreamed of a preferred future, life lacked complication. I had time and space to think, reflect, read and be. This just isn't who I am anymore.

I wonder if its just a season of life. I work a job that mostly sucks the life out of me to provide for my family who are seemingly having a good life. They are healthy, present with one another, have daily bread and much more, good schooling, participate in their preferred extra-curriculars, friends, loved etc. Generally growing up in a safe environment both physically and emotionally, that can't be underestimated. There really isn't anything I wouldn't do to provide this for them, it makes just about anything worth it. Its part of growing up, its about them, not me.

I wonder if I'll ever be that other guy again someday? Will there come another season where I don't have to give my firstfruits of energies to the "man" in things I largely don't believe in? Is there such a thing as a job you love, or is that a myth?

Here in America, the present economic realities are rough and the future looks rougher. Having a job w/ benefits is to be considered a blessing, my mind tells me that. My mind also tells me its all relative, there are Kingdom brothers and sisters all over the world who are suffering greatly in poverty and under abusive government power structures. Who am I to complain? In fact I feel overwhelming guilt for just asking these questions, perhaps I should privatize these thoughts. (the reason I don't is because I don't think I'm alone in these questions)

How do you live the life of a monk as a Father of 3 in suburban America? How do you keep touch with your heart and deep dreams in a world of speed and greed? Whatever the answers are, I'm not doing a good job of it. I lack space and time to do much searching for it, mostly hoping that if there is an answer that it will find me.

Perhaps in the future I will walk in a field of a life less complicated, but for now I'm just trying to make peace with the mire I'm in.



steven hamilton said...

thanks for giving voice to the silenced voice inside of me...probably silenced due to the guilt you mentioned...

here's to peace in the mundane mire, that Jesus peace we constantly wrestle with/towards

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your post, Chris. I feel as though I still have my "vigor and passion" and am terrified of loosing it, particularly now, a few weeks after getting married. Some inner voice (I presume it's cultural) keeps telling me that I need to "grow up"...that this vigor and passion is immaturity. It tells me that I need to get a real job (I'm self-employed), and "provide for my new family". With vigor and passion comes risk. I've somehow been taught that living risky in this life-stage is selfish. I'm trying to realign my thinking so that living risky fits into the category of actually being the best thing for my family. I will be more "alive" for my wife and a good example of living a life of faith for our future kids. I have so much more I could say, but just wanted to say thanks for indirectly being encouraging to me. I pray that you'll find new and exciting ways for your vigor and passion to be exercised. - craig

Marsh said...

Steven, i knew i wasn't alone, peace to you.

Craig, I find meaning in relationships with others who are alive, you are one of those, I love your creativity in life, your wedding was totally memorable. but your bachelor party conversation was in my top 3 conversations of the year. peace my brother.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. I have been wrestling with the same issues and it has been brutal at times. I left a full time job as an associate pastor 7 yrs. ago because the job/leadership at the church drifted to a place that had very little to do with Jesus. I think I aged 5 years in the last year there because it was so emotionally devastating to take a stand for what I believed in, along with other committed leaders, and yet things did not change, even got worse. Since then I have worked at a job that provides for my family (wonderful wife and adopted 2 yr. old daughter), provides good insurance, and has absolutely nothing to do with who I am. I just turned 49 and still believe there will come a time that I can give myself more to what I've been called to do - but my wife and I are both incredibly frustrated at times. We are often caught between that place of thanksgiving for all we have, knowing that so many have far less than we do, yet yearning to give more of ourselves to the passions that God has placed in our hearts.
I pray for His peace to be more aware of the opportunities around me now to spread the kingdom, and to learn to be content with what I have while not giving up on the possibility of a new season. This is not easy.

Pat said...

Marsh, been there, doing that. Signs of hope pop in every now and then. I wonder if there's a difference between wisdom with good boundaries, and just being distant and jaded. My wife thinks it's the latter (1/3 :-)).

dearjeremiah said...

Wow anonymous, I feel like you just wrote my biography of the last several years. I was in ministry for six years before feeling the burnout of mediocre church, and if it weren't for a wife and housechurch who said I needed a sabbatical I would probably be in a rubber room at the moment. After quitting paid ministry, selling the old house and getting free from the slavery of that mortgage ("the things you own end up owning you") we spent six months in Guatemala to see how the rest of the world lived. While none of this was easy, it did provide hope and new life. Our mortgage now is 1/6 what our last one was, which frees us up to try and make a living doing something we actually enjoy.

Thanks Chris for your honesty. This seems to be something that is plaguing us, especially in ministry, everywhere. We have lost all sense of rhythm in this culture , especially restful and healing rhythms such as sabbath, feasts, and sabbaticals. If the soil gets depleted it can't bear any more fruit. That's exactly what happened to me. I finally woke up when my hair started falling out!

Take care of yourselves friends. God commands us to. If you need help in this area come visit our gifted friends at Peace to you.

Jody said...

"Do not believe that he who seeks to comfort you lives untroubled among the simple and quiet words that sometimes do you good. His life has much difficulty and sadness and remains far behind yours. Were it not otherwise he would have never been able to find these words." Rainer Maria Rilke

Thank you for finding these words for us. You hear the Kingdom calling and give us the understanding we need to answer...much like Palmer did on some many occasions.

MamasBoy said...

"How do you live the life of a monk as a Father of 3 in suburban America?" I think its probably impossible. That's why monks are celibate and live in community to share the work load and generate enough free time to pray and serve as much as they do. At least, I know I'm a complete failure, if it is possible. I am taking my son up to a monestary next weekend to try and capture some of that peace and time for contemplation. That's about the only way I can generate a monkish existence for more than 15 minutes at a time.

Regarding regaining vigor and passion, you can always try moving to over-the-rhine. :-) Housing is cheap, and its bound to stir things up a bit for you. The wife might not like it safety-wise, but I do know a family who lived down there with their 4 kids for several years before moving to the burbs to follow Sands Montessori when it relocated away from the hood. I was too chicken to move down there when graduating with my MS from UC. I ended up moving to the sunbelt and now live in a rural suburb of sorts and wonder if I'm spending too much time fixing up my house and helping with the neighborhood/soccer league/homeschool coop to build more solid relationships with those I'm close to. Balance is hard, and it seems the search requires constant tinkering.

Good luck in your search.