Thanks for joining me here.
Read some thoughts on issues affecting daily life and life around our world. Read and join in the conversation. What moves you? How do you respond to the issues we face today?

Some thoughts on work

In a continuation of  my recent counseling sessions, I write here about work. First off, it should be recognized that I, all too easily, idolize work.  It becomes a measuring stick by which I judge my worth.  As a Christian, I know my worth comes from Christ alone, not from work.  And yet the human side of me tends toward this temptation.  I'm learning to guard against it.
Before departing St. Louis, the board at Arch Grants requested my resignation.  I refused since I had performed admirably and had received no prior warnings.  The board threatened to withhold severance unless I resigned.  I held my ground.  I received a severance check with a termination letter a few days later.
Referring back to my idolatry of work, such an immediate, harsh, and cruel termination of my role as Executive Director of Arch Grants left me reeling.  I questioned if I should have led the organization differently.  I grieved over the very public and underhanded manner in which the board maligned my character.  I disbelieved that any humans, let alone a group of six highly educated and seemingly professional individuals, would possibly fire someone 8+ months pregnant whose husband was deployed to Afghanistan and whose brother had just passed away.  Really, people, this does happen in our oh-so evolved American society.  Worse yet, the board, including a couple lawyers, knew full-well that I was protected by neither state nor federal employment law owing to the small size of our organization.  As you can tell, the entire situation still angers me.
Anger alone serves no purpose, however, so I think about my next steps.  Regardless of how it ended, leading Arch Grants was a tremendous opportunity and resulted in significant experience.  The first steps include updating my resume and LinkedIn, owning all those accomplishments.  Next will be reaching out to find ways to leverage that experience.  And, all the while, I want to remember that God does not measure me by my accomplishments.  Thank God that He cares too much for us to derive our value from paltry goings-on in this physical world.

Postscript to my last blog

Oh, how I loathe pop psychology.  For example, How to Survive the Loss of a Love today queried, "If you want to fall in love with someone, how about trying yourself" (Bloomfield et al, 108). Alternatively, my study of Galatians led me to this passage:
"It is often said today, in circles which blend popular psychology with Christianity, that we must love ourselves before we can be set free to love others . . . But no realistic human beings find it easy to love or forgive themselves, and hence their self-acceptance must be grounded in their awareness that God accepts them in Christ" (Lovelace, The Dynamics of Spiritual Life).
In case you were wondering, I don't recommend How to Survive the Loss of a Love.

How does one mourn the loss of one's brother?

God weeps with us so that we may one day laugh with him.
JΓΌrgen Moltmann

I can't bring myself to say, "Tim died."  He didn't die; he merely passed onto eternal life where he's more alive than I.  So I say, "Tim passed."  Then I don't get weird looks as though I've not accepted Tim's departure from earth.  I don't get into a lengthy theological discussion unless the conversation's headed that direction and I honor Tim's continued existence.

Immediately following Tim's passing, the question reverberating around my head was, "how does one mourn the loss of one's brother?"  Mourning is a uniquely personal experience.  Abolish rules and social constraints.  I break down in tears when I need to, without apologies.  At first, I cried about all the things Tim would miss such as the birth and fathering of his child.  But when I considered all the things Tim might be doing now, such as training in heaven to be God's soldier (that's a story best told by Mom), it seemed that Tim might be engrossed in his new activities while those of us left behind would be the ones intensely missing his participation here on earth.  Now I cry about Tim never meeting Miriam on this earth.  I cry about never backpacking in Patagonia together or taking our kids to India together.  I cry about not being able to call him on the car ride home.  I cry about never singing "Kryptonite"with Tim nor hearing him say, "big blue sky with little puffy clouds" to me.  I miss all those little inside jokes.

In my composed moments, I think of Tim watching everything taking place on earth and I wonder what he would say.  For example, Dad, John, Miriam, and I went to see the Counting Crows.  Although Dad and Tim used to play Counting Crows' albums for hours at a time, the live performance was bad.  Dad and I laughed about how Tim probably already knew the show would be bad.  Sometimes I have these kinds of conversations with Tim though, admittedly, they are always one-way.  I don't hear from Tim like I sometimes hear from God.

I wrote all the above a couple months ago.

Now, I'm seeing a counselor.  She asked me yesterday, "Do you know how to grieve?"  Hmm, I suppose I don't.  She recommended a book about grieving.  She recommended writing about Tim (thus, the completion of this blog).  She recommended talking about Tim.  She listened, too.  She listened a lot.  She asked me to describe Tim.  She said he sounds like a wonderful man.  He is!  She gave me permission to speak about Tim in the present tense.  As if I needed permission!  But you know what? Affirmation from someone outside the situation helped.

I began reading the recommended book, How to Survive the Loss of a Love, and recognized my recent behaviors in the laundry list of grief's impacts: feeling empty, experiencing a loss of concentration, a tendency to be slower in speech.  While grief remains an intensely personal experience, perhaps I can learn how to grieve.