Saturday, September 13, 2008

What's Up? Lesson In Humility

I’ve been wanting to blog but I feel I need to catch up here with an update before I write about anything else.
School’s been back in session for a month. My oldest is at the arts magnet high school. For the first time in his life, my middle son is going to public school: He’s in 8th grade at the arts magnet middle school studying visual arts.
Carmac is 5, and so, a kindergartner. We are homeschooling. He has had a very tough time with all the changes. Hammy and I have been noticing him acting in ways that he had developed beyond, like not wanting to be alone in his room and being afraid of the dark. He misses Zed a lot during the day and, although he has always been really good at playing by himself, he’s lonely. I’ve been trying to keep him busy and have scheduled at least one extra activity with friends each week.
I’m still working but not for much longer. One of the projects ended a month or so ago. I’m just doing phone work on the other one, which was supposed to end the beginning of August. The project managers keep telling us 2 more weeks but we still need something like 700 more interviews done, so who knows. I’m putting in 10-15 hours a week on that now, mainly working 3-4 hours each morning. It’s easy and pleasant work.
I’m beginning to look for a new job. About a month ago, I learned that Nashville is not part of the national framing sample for any projects I would be eligible to work, so I will not have field work offered to me for at least 6 months. I can’t go that long without an income. I’d like to work for a non-profit. I really enjoyed when I worked as a volunteer coordinator at Reconciliation. I’m great at organizing people and networking. The darn lack of education, though, really gets in the way of how I am perceived by potential employers.
I’m not enrolled in school. I just couldn’t justify upsetting my entire family and our finances. I’m pretty frustrated but I have to honor the needs of everyone, not just my own. Seeing how Carmac is with the changes we are already experiencing, I’m glad I didn’t force my going to school on him, too. Although, he may be happier if he were to go to school.
We’re still mostly car-free but my in-laws did give us a very old, very rickety car to pick Zed up from school with (his school is a mile from our house but the only two roads to get to it are highways with no sidewalks, so he can’t walk. The bus takes kids from the school to downtown and then he’d have to catch the return bus for a roundtrip time of almost 2 hours). Carmac and I are still riding buses most of the time when we go out.

So, hmmmmm. As my friendlymama blog is ostensibly about my spiritual journey, I guess the question I’ll ask myself is: How goes my awareness of God in my life?

And my answer is: I’m finding my way back to my path. I give myself props for not immediately going into, what my friend Kit describes as, “ego attack” which happens when one’s sense of security is threatened. Thus far, and this may only be because I am still generating income, I have been able to remain open to ideas for future employment keeping God’s will for me fore in my mind: I know that I would most like “right-livelihood” work—work that’s good for God’s world (which is to say, everything) but I trust God will help me find the path the opportunities in which I can learn and serve best.

I am coming to terms with some further awareness of my own class prejudices. I’ve written how I come from a working class background. But, obviously, I have had great privilege from my parents, genetics and many other things. The fact that I am very verbal and read extensively has allowed me to “pass” as well educated for most of my adult life. Because of this, I’ve been able to get jobs that I otherwise wouldn’t have qualified for. With my ability to pass as a member of the educated middle-class (liberal), I’ve distanced myself emotionally from my working class roots. I was bemoaning the need to look for a new job recently and beginning to allow myself to go into an ego attack and said the thing I always say when I get in that uncomfortable, fear inducing place, “I’m going to wind up working at Taco Bell!”. Well, I said that and then I just stopped and thought about what I said and realized that I am a snob. Sheesh. Am I better than the people who work at Taco Bell? Smarter? No. I’m luckier. I was given parents who made sure I spoke proper English and provided me with lots of books and modeled socially acceptable behaviors and so I have better options.
Last weekend, Zed was invited by a new school chum to go to a water park. I drove him over to the boy’s house across town. He lives with his mom in a home which reminds me a lot of the house in which my aunt and bi-polar, alcoholic, illiterate uncle raised their three children: Very small duplexes, close together, small children and semi-feral dogs running wild, people sitting idle in yards, watching everything that goes on. When I pulled up, a neighbor was on the porch and asked if I was looking to rent side B. I bristled, thinking, “Doesn’t it look obvious that I don’t belong here?” but of course it doesn’t. And it shouldn’t, no matter where I work or how much money I make.
I met the boy’s mom. She’s about my age. She’s very nice and friendly and seems a kind and caring mother trying to raise her son the best she can. She works as a manager at McDonalds. She hasn’t had the luxury of the dental care that I have. As we talked, I could relate to her and her struggles and successes (when the kids were at the water park, she was on a date at the lake). I’m not better than her. I need to learn to stop judging myself as if I am. I do not deserve to make more money than her just because I am more articulate than her. We both should have the opportunities for education that would allow us employment that fulfills our need for dignity and financial stability.
So, I’ve had that little lesson in humility, again.

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