Waiting to escape part one.

In a way, I feel like the Israelites at the first Passover. Waiting, eagerly, to run at a moment’s notice to escape Egypt. “Egypt” means slavery and oppression. “Egypt” means not living live as we are meant to – as I’m meant to.

I’ve been shoehorning my life for a while now. My job no longer fits with my ideals. Buddha talked about “right livelihood” – where your jobs needs to line up with your values. It isn’t that the library is bad. It is just that it isn’t enough.

I am adverse to starting a “small business” and striking out on my own. Too often this means simply striking out. I don’t want to feel like I have to spend more time selling my “product” more than I spend creating it. My art isn’t my job. Maybe that is the problem though. Maybe the fact that I create and then go to a “real” job is proof I have time to do both.

I’m averse to doing all the taxes and paperwork required to run a small business. I want to get paid t create, to host Circles, to heal in many ways. I want to write, paint, collage, bead, and drum. I want to show others how to do the same. I want to facilitate weddings, funerals, and other religious ceremonies for those who have been turned out of or off of church. I want to have a place to do all of this that isn’t my home.

The biggest point is that I’m afraid to go out on my own because I need health insurance.

I need to remember that just because the Israelites became free, their lives didn’t become easy. 40 years of wandering in the desert isn’t ideal. Many people died. But they also always had enough to eat and drink, and their shoes never wore out. So maybe freedom isn’t what I think it should be.

I used to love working at the library, but that love has faded. I feel that my talents are being wasted. More importantly, I feel that my life is being wasted. I can’t stand thinking about 13 more years of 40 hour weeks until I can retire. I’ll be 59. My Mom died at 53. My Dad died at 60. Neither were able to retire. I’d hate to think that I’d spent my most healthy years at a place only half alive, biding my time. I resent the time my job takes from me. 40 hours a week is too much time away from my husband and friends. Too much time not creating and sharing and teaching.

My job is rather predictable and boring. In a way, the familiarity is comforting. In a way, it is smothering. I’m grateful to have a job that is regular and simple at times. I’m grateful to have a regular paycheck too. But right now, the only thing that keeps me going is days off, because then I get to do what I want to do.

I’d love to work in such a way that I don’t have to have a “second” job of living my “real” life. I’d love if my “first” job was more in line with my dreams and creative life. I’d love if I got paid to have circles where people could learn how to communicate better, or I could facilitate new ways of communication, where people could connect with art or music.

What do you say I am?

Recently I have been asked if I was a minister or a teacher. This was in two different settings, but it was close enough together that I decided to start thinking about it.

In both situations I kind of hedged. I didn’t really say no, and I didn’t really say yes. I am both, in a way. I’m both at the same time, but not officially.

But what makes one official? The paperwork? A ceremony? Does training count? What kind? Or is it simply if you do the work, you are the worker?

For three years, I’ve tutored kindergartners who have learning disabilities or have English as a second language. Before that, I did the same in college for years. I’ve taught classes on various subjects in the medieval reenactment group I was in. I’ve taught classes at my old church. In all these situations, what qualifies me is that I do the work. I just know how, and I do it.

I’ve taken classes in Pastoral care, in the Circle process, and been in the discernment process to be a deacon. I’ve read many books on how to be a minister and how to bridge cultures and styles. I’ve gotten certified as a minister online so I can legally perform weddings for people who are not affiliated with a religious community. In this, what qualifies me is the training.

To me, part of being a minister or a teacher is not that I think I’m better than those that I minister to or teach. It is that I feel it is my blessing to help them remember their own power. It isn’t about “lording” over people. It is about leading them back to themselves.

My goal in both being a minister or a teacher is to help build bridges. I’m a facilitator, a translator. I find out what is preventing them from being able to fully be themselves, and I find a workaround. Perhaps there is some prayer form that they don’t know about. Perhaps they would enjoy painting more than beading. I try to find the best fit for the person.

When people ask me if I’m a minister or a teacher, perhaps I should ask them “What do you say I am?” like Jesus did. Jesus didn’t tell anybody what he was. He just did the work – with no training and no certification. He was all about just getting in there and doing it. He wasn’t ordained, and he didn’t ordain anybody. He was actually against the idea of giving over your power to authority figures.

Perhaps if people on their own are asking me if I’m a minister or a teacher, I am. If they see me that way, then I must be that way, right?

But I’m not a minister or a teacher in the way they think I am. I don’t want them to then think that I have some authority or power over them. It is the exact opposite. I’m here to help them find themselves. I’m here to help remove stumbling blocks. I’m more of a facilitator – I make it easier. In a way, I’m more like a cheerleader than a coach.