A Page From My Life: Getting a little personal

Know how the online community at times can seem a bit too harsh and judgmental? People get behind their keyboards and feel free to type whatever they are feeling at the moment? They say things in typewritten words that they probably would filter a little more had they been saying it face to face to someone?

Now let’s add one more thing to the mix: do-gooders.

People who join together as a unit to passionately work toward a common (good) goal, can sometimes become….well, very distraught in their passion.

Happens all the time in churches. One volunteer feels they are carrying more of the load than another volunteer. Resentments build. Alliances start forming and before you know it the Chorus Singing team has just ganged up on the Hymnal Singing team. And pretty soon, things can get very ugly.

All in the name of the best way to carry out this passionate cause everyone is suppose to be rallying behind.

But if you add in one more component – paid staff – things become downright explosive. Volunteers are volunteering. They’re giving above and beyond their “day job”. They’re doing this out of the goodness of their heart and dang it, it takes a lot of their free time to perform their given volunteer responsibilities. So the paid person better damn well step up. Ultimately when things don’t go as planned, it’s probably the paid staff’s responsibility (aka: many times, the pastor). If things go well, then God bless the volunteers.

Paid vs Volunteer in the non-profit world is a love/hate relationship.

Online anonymity + defensive passion + where does the buck stop =

For the past few years, it has equated to what I do for a living.

It has caused me to question every single part of my self worth. My personality has come into question. My temperament. My responsibility. My work ethic. Things I have never been accused of before were being virally sent around the email circuit.

And quite frankly, at one point or the other, I have believed them. I have pulled away from personal relationships because clearly, I am not a nice person, right? I have stepped back from volunteering because I doubted my ability to do so. People have questioned my capabilities, so I believed them…not my spouse, not my own mind,…I believed THEM.

And now I stand here, mid-year, with very weak and brittle shoulders. Shoulders that used to hold people-issues like palettes in a storage warehouse.

The building industry (all facets) has suffered a lot of job losses. Those that haven’t lost their jobs have had their positions “realigned” so that they’re now doing 2 or 3 employees workloads along with their own. The built environment is angry and afraid. And in the grand scheme of things, blaming the one-paid-person in a volunteer organization doesn’t seem like a harmful way to vent. Unless, of course, you’re that one-paid-person.

Simultaneously throughout my life, people have consistently encouraged me to do something creative [insert word here.] Yet I continued to pursue jobs, rather than heart passions and creative fulfillment. The voices in my head are many. And they are extremely confused. This camp of thought says this. But this camp of thought is saying something diametrically opposite.

Who do I believe?
Which risk is greater? The risk of doing something I’m passionate about and potentially not making much money or the risk of doing something safe and feeling empty?

Enter a video I have ‘ignored’ for weeks now. Every time I see it promo’d I skip over it.

I don’t want to watch it.
I’m afraid of what it will say.
I know how it will make me feel.

I hate Hope. It’s a very fickle mistress. It has hurt me and left me and I would rather ignore its presence in a room rather than sit down next to it and start up a conversation.

Yet I broke down last week. I watched the video.
And I cried the majority of the way through it. It’s funny and encouraging and yet, I found it mournfully…hopeful.

What does this mean for me? I don’t know.
But I know it means something….

Are you in a similar boat? What are the thought processes that go through your head? What does your Pros and Cons list look like? Do you feel settled or unsettled about your future possibilities?


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