My life for the last month or so has been one that has consisted of living with a never departing invisible question mark above my head. I've been asked how I'm doing with not being currently employed and for the most part I'm hanging in here OK. Part of me honestly has become strangely comforted by the company of the vocational question mark. I even mentioned to my husband the other day, "I'm not sure what I'm going to do once I find a new job and my professional question mark is gone!"
All this uncertainty, pondering, and soul searching has actually gotten me to begin to wonder if in reality the question mark of life ever really goes away. When life is full of jobs, clubs and organizations that we've grow used to, I've often thought that my life is figured out, settled and my path is established. The last several weeks has proven that for as much as I make plans and get comfortable with life - the opportunity for change, exploration and development are always present. (Even when we'd rather not have it be.)
In the last 5 weeks I : trained for and completed running in a 5K race, wrapped up a CD recording project that I'd put on the creative back burner, cleaned out my bedroom, had several friends over for dinner, spent more time with my family in this August than I was ever able to in the past, read a stack of books, written a new song or two, played music with friends, helped my mother-in-law with her summer yard work, sent out what feels like a million resumes, cover letters, and started reading my second stack of books. I've had interviews in person and by phone, met lots of new people in the process of searching for the "right" position, had lots of help from friends and family members with references and moral support on my blue days. ( Thanks for all the help!) I have begun to reinvent my life by taking time for the things I really want/need to do and begun whittling away the things that cease to be life-giving. In all of this adapting and shifting, I've become better aware of the many question marks in my life. In the absence of planning that was required in my previous ministry position, I've discovered the space of possibility, potential and the freedom to ask why I used to do work the way I did.
I'm learning that questions are OK. In fact, question marks are even better for helping a person wade through life and all of its challenges and joys.
I've become more comfortable with being unfinished as I've relaxed a bit into my question mark companion. For the first time in years, I can't fill in what my vocational calender will hold. Sometimes it is a little frightening to have my life be so open, especially since I'm usually so good at filling it up. Space in life is something I'm learning is necessary, just as much as the things we try to fill it with.
Mike Yaconelli, the founder of Youth Specialties, who equated the Christian life to a roller coaster once said,
"If I died right this minute, I would be able to say, 'God, what a ride! What a ride!'"
Somehow I think I'd be in the seat right next to Mike - saying "WOOOOOHOOOOO!"
Life is like a roller coaster. There are hills, drops, loop d loops, hair pin turns and even a few upside down moments. The comfort I have in my wild ride is that Jesus is right there with me looking at the question mark over my head with a knowing smile on his face.
His eye is on the sparrow and I know he watches me.