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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Into the Blog Mystic - April 13, 2010

Today, I begin my journey into the blog mystic. It took months of unemployment and a humility-inducing job search to prompt me. As I sit in the Java Green CafĂ© at 19th and K NW, glaring at my wifi-less computer and racking my brain as to what to do next, I realize that perhaps what I really need to do is share my experience with others. Joblessness is an ego shaker…an energy hoover, sucking the life force right out of all these great skills and experiences that we’ve accumulated over the years. It rattles the bones and plucks my courage from its high perch. Yet, I know that there is still hope.

I have worked for 10 years as an anti-poverty advocate, development practitioner and community organizer. I have fought for the underdog in low-income urban areas, rural Africa and the halls of Capitol Hill. Yet, I was never one of them. Perhaps these hard wandering times come to us so that we can know true compassion, true solidarity with our brothers and sisters who battle for their livelihoods. And yet, even this notion is a farce. After all, I do have a Masters and two Bachelors degrees. I have job references and previous colleagues who will advocate for me. I have friends and family members who will rally for me if it gets too hard. I have never known homelessness or hunger. I have never felt completely hopeless or alone in the world. What about the Orphan in Mozambique who begs for food? What about the Welfare Mom in West Baltimore who prays for a living wage job? How much more difficult their search must be.

I believe that it's definitely important to acknowledge our challenges, ask for help and give ourselves some grace in this current crazy job recession. Finding solidarity with unexpected people can be a first step in the right direction. Yet, if we hold too tightly to the, “Why me, Lord?” mentality, then we miss the boat entirely. No matter how difficult our situation, someone in the world is suffering more. So, how can we use our own employment crisis to help others,  while still nurturing our own bruised hearts and egos? Perhaps we can share our story and be gentler with one another, more generous to those with less and more willing to go the mile with others. And, we can embrace the hidden blessings…like more time with our families, a chance to go slower and reflect, time to breathe and pray.

Speaking of which, I send this prayer of encouragement out into the universe as a step towards those goals. God of love and second chances, help us job seekers to follow the wise words of the prophet, Isaiah. He told us that even the strong will grow weary. And the young will fall down exhausted from time to time. Yet, those who actively wait for God…or love…or hope…will rise up on wings like Eagles. May it be so.

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