Been a while, huh?
Not to sound insensitive, but I'm not really sorry that I was gone. I am sorry if you got the shakes or had other withdrawal symptoms as a result of my absence, but in some mysterious way my break was necessary. It was right. And I can't really explain it.
I'm in a weird season of spirit right now, and I'm curious where it goes from here. I'm not depressed, but I'm not into some of my usual activities lately (like blogging, for example). And I can't even put a finger on what my crazy brain is slowly working through, but it must be something big. Maybe soon it will let me in on it.
Until then, here's some random spewage of news and stuff:
-- My company, like many others, is about to face some hard times. I'm being asked to do more than ever before, even though (or maybe because) my little department was the sole part of the company that exceeded forecast this year.
-- This means that I'm taking some big leadership roles in some projects. Roles that make absolutely no sense organizationally, because I'm playing in other people's sandboxes and driving strategy for people way above my title and paygrade. But I'm doing it anyway.
-- At the same time, the company has hooked me up with a life/career coach. He and I clicked right away, and in the background of our discussions we know that one day I'm probably going to stop all this corporate stuff and follow my true calling. As soon as I figure out what it is. I'm thinking AJ's past recommendation of a preacher/teacher/comedian/pychologist/analyst thing sounds good. Anybody know someone who's hiring that combo?
-- Speaking of preaching, my church asked me to preach on a Sunday in January. I turned it down. That still bothers me, because I know why I turned it down. It's because I can't preach my heart there. I could give a sermon on plenty of other topics and they'd be satisfied. But I have this sense that the next time I preach, it will be about my evolved understanding of grace, and how it's changed my life and changed what I see as the Christian mission. That's the core of who I am, and to speak powerfully and genuinely, that's what I'd need to share. But I can't do it at the church where I'm a member. Frustrating.
-- I finished teaching my bible class that I've done weekly for six months. It was a wonderful, challenging experience trying to lead a group of people who are twice my age. In many ways I am kindred spirits with that generation. Weird, huh? But that's why my best friends in college were my grandparents, not my classmates. That's a weirdness I'll wear proudly.
-- The senior minister at church asked me to attend the young couples' class that he's teaching, with a tentative plan for me to take over for him soon if I connect with the group. I sat in there last week to discover that I disagreed with practically every single point of the minister's lesson. I thought it was flat out, undeniably, dangerously wrong. He taught that pain/suffering are always directly from God, and are forms of discipline for our unrighteousness. He said there's no room for random events and "life happens" scenarios -- it's all uniquely and purposely from God.
-- This stuff is making me wonder where I fit at church.
-- Jamie and I celebrate our 10th anniversary next month! We're planning on a 4-day, 3-night, jaunt to Southern California to stay in a cabin at the foot of a mountain range. A few days of quiet, sharing, nature, reflection, hiking and boom-chicka-bang-bang. Yeehaw!
-- My daughter is almost halfway through kindergarten. When did that happen?
-- We paid off the van today, 13 months early. That means we have no car payment next month, for the first time in six years. We had no car payment for the first four years of our marriage and we're thrilled to return to that place again. It will make many other things possible financially.
-- I continue studying the economic climate, and I continue to be disturbed. As I blogged about earlier, nobody seems to be discussing the fundamental weaknesses of our economy (low production, low savings, brain drain). If printing more money would fix the problem, wouldn't that have already worked by now? We're teetering on this weird edge between deflation and hyperinflation, and right now I wouldn't be surprised to see either one become reality in 2009.
-- Tonight at dinner I asked the kids what kinds of things Christmas is about. Samantha said "giving" and "sharing". Jack said "baking cookies" and "eating cookies".
-- I like cookies. And hot cocoa. And eggnog. And I've had all three in the past 24 hours.