I’m writing from my balcony, overlooking Biscayne Bay. It’s a beautiful sight to take, especially during the morning when the sun isn’t shining on this side of the building. There are college students from the rowing club practicing in the water, and there’s the occasional dolphin nosing around, trying to see what they’re up to. The sound of the busy street on the other side is nothing but a murmur. I’m facing the water and the gorgeous palm trees in Allison Island straight ahead while listening to the calls of one of my favorite birds, the seagull. All is perfect.I’ve been sitting here for a while, meditating on life. I’ve recently gotten into one of those downward spirals that drowns me in a sea of self-pity. I shouldn’t feel anxious or sad, but sometimes it happens.
At the end of September, I was offered a job very close to my house. It would have been a ten-minute walk. At this moment of my life I desire to start fresh, to leave behind all the over-achieving I once thought necessary to prove myself to others. This was the perfect place to do this, a blank canvas for me. I could have done less with more care and more love, like Saint Therese de Lisieux recommends. It would have given me the chance to concentrate on myself, my family, my spiritual life. I waited over a month and the person who had my fate in her hands decided not to let me go. The feeling of being trapped didn’t leave me during this waiting period, and it triggered panic attacks I hadn’t experienced in years.
Now that I know I’m not going anywhere I am working on shifting my mindset to see the good in all this. The truth is things are very uncomfortable at my place of employment. It wasn’t as bad when I took the job, but… I don’t know, maybe I’m a pessimist, I think there’s little hope of things improving. Meanwhile the expectations that were placed on me at the time I was hired have not diminished. This year I’m unable to work after
hours. I rush home to take care of my seventeen-year-old dog who needs me. And having to drive more than two hours a day to work in strenuous conditions doesn’t really help. So, of course I looked somewhere else. My first response is always to flee from struggle.
where he speaks about how we’re constantly running away from challenge instead of choosing it as a learning experience. A year ago, I embarked on a quest to find humility. Just when I thought my job was done in that regard I encountered this major drawback. It reminds me of the parable told by Jesus and found in Luke 14:7-11:
Conduct of Invited Guests and Hosts.
7. He told a parable to those who had been invited, noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table.
8. “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honor. A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him,
9. and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then you would proceed with embarrassment to take the lowest place.
10. Rather, when you are invited, go and take the lowest place so that when the host comes to you he may say, ‘My friend, move up to a higher position.’ Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table.
11. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
The truth is that I shouldn’t assume I’m to receive special treatment. Everyone at my place of work is struggling with something and I’m sure they all feel helpless in one way or another. Why should I be exempt from these hardships? Is my ego telling me I’m too good to stand all this? The funny thing is I keep running into the same issue no matter where I go. I understand it’s the broken system we’re facing, but I also know there’s a lesson in all this for me. What if I gain experience working through these hardships and become stronger and braver, willing to go anywhere and do anything?
I thank God for all he’s done in my life, and for leading me where I need to be, not where I want to be. So, I’m staying put in my workplace. I’ll be committing myself to learning patience, perseverance, and endurance. I’ll be growing closer to God in prayer and complete trust. And I’ll do whatever is in my power to do the work I’m being trusted with, but if it becomes too much for me to handle I will simply say no.
In the words of Father Mike Schmitz: Who we are is God’s gift to us. Who we become is our gift to God.
I trust God completely. I know he isn’t finished with me yet.