It’s become painfully aware to me that my life is difficult to explain this year. I have moved to a new city and naturally met lots of new people. Of course, one of the main discussion starters for those (sometimes awkward) meet-and-greet discussions is, “so what do you do?” which is referring to vocation, job, income, etc. Common answers here in Pittsburgh seem to be nurse, student, or a spouse of either of those occupations. I, however, throw a giant wrench in the process when I begin my little spiel.
“Well, I’m a part of a program that, uh, well, I work with a church, I mean I have an internship with a non-profit. Actually, it’s kinda like a ‘religious AmeriCorps’. Nah, that’s not quite right. I’m working part-time at a café…” And so on. Unfortunately, I’ve mumbled my way through more than enough conversation like that where I don’t seem to be able to clearly and concisely articulate my profession.
I’m realizing that in small-talk situations like that, it is exactly that which is preferred… “small-talk”. Few words with maximum description. In my experience, WCD is not conducive to that kind of short-and-sweet preference. But I’m also realizing that that is okay. I’m learning to embrace the tension that I perceive when I am attempting to completely explain my “job”. I’m learning that simple answers to questions like that are not always best. And I’m learning, often through uneasiness, that my identity ought not be completely wrapped up in my profession.
Earlier this month, I was at PNC setting up a checking account when the banker popped the question, “so are you a student?” I think I started my spiel and then even apologized a little for troubling him with a difficult answer. His answer was perfect. “No worries sir. If you can afford time like this, do it! Once you jump into the rat race, it’s never the same.”
At this point, I think it’s terribly appropriate to say, thank you. Thank you to all of you who are allowing me the opportunity to be a WCD participant…To not be so busy that life is just a race for rats. Thank you for giving to me, so generously, as you have been given. Thank you that I can have the space to devote a lot of thought and time to this program, and ultimately to grow and learn in new ways.
I'm going to share an article by Henri Nouwen that is important to understanding my time in the WCD program. The 3 disciplines of solitude, community, and ministry are very important for what WCD is all about. Henri Nouwen's article contains much of the vision for WCD, and can be found at the bottom of this site. I highly recommend reading it!
So, if this short reflection has left you thinking, still, "what DO you do?" then I guess my answer is stay tuned! This blog will be updated with lots of prayer requests, praises (ex. thank you JESUS!), and reflections on how things are going here in the Burgh.