Monday, 26 April 2010

Waiting for a new life

I've always believed it right to work for an honest living, ensuring that I deal with such work reliably and responsibly. To be able to pay my own way in life through honest hard work, I believe, brings a sense of self respect which is a vital human need, however, I now find myself at a point in my working life I never expected to be.

Over the last 29 years, since leaving school, I have been in continual full time employment apart from 3 months, when I was last made redundant and took the opportunity to move from London to Manchester. I obviously had to complete the move before I found another job. Now, I find myself facing another redundancy.
The thing that makes this so much different is my desire to enter the Ministry and serve my Chapel and Congregation.

I am unable to begin Ministry training until at least September 2011 and my current employment terminates at the end of April 2010, but I already do ministerial duties as Lay Person In Charge, a post I acquired earlier in the year.

Over the last few months, my heart hasn't been in the work I'm salaried to do and I find it a struggle keeping my concentration to do the honest days work that I believe in so much. I constantly have Chapel, Pastoral Care issues, Course work (for my Lay Preacher studies), and service writing on my mind.

As my day of redundancy looms ever closer I feel less able to do the work my employer expects of me and I'm haunted by guilt.

There's only a few more days to go, then Chapel can have my full concentration without the day time job interferance. Perhaps then the dent in my self respect can repair.

I have spent seven years of my life with a pretty good employer and colleagues I've become quite fond of, most of those seven years have been enormously enjoyable. I hope my lack of enthusiasm for the work and my desire to be elsewhere, that I now feel, won't tarnish any memories for either myself or those colleagues I will shortly be leaving behind.

At the end of the day I guess this is one of those occasions where heart is definately ruling head. Roll on April 30th so that I can get both back on the same path, for my conscience tells me I am not handling this well.

Remembering Jiminy Cricket's words and the basis of Unitarian belief "Always let your conscience be your guide".

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Learning to Forgive

I stand in the pulpit every week and talk about forgiveness and understanding, so it seemed only right, this week to put my words into action when someone I called a friend displayed animosity and betrayal towards me in order to get their own way.

It hurt, of course it did. Perhaps I should have challenged them, or displayed the same negative attitude to them. Perhaps I shouldn’t speak to them again, turn my back and shut them out, but what would I gain?

It’s important to display the behaviour I preach to others and matching their behaviour would make my words in the pulpit meaningless, so I chose another path. I allowed myself to hurt at the same time as asking myself why. What were the circumstances that made them forfeit my friendship? Having spent several days trying to think through the whole scenario my hurt has changed to sympathy, and my friendship remains.

A few years ago, I attended a lecture where it was demonstrated how all negative actions and feelings stem from one thing ... fear. When breaking down each part of my friends behaviour, I realised there was a lot of fear in their actions, making it all the more important for me to show the love, understanding and forgiveness that I talk about so often in worship.

I realise this is a one-off, it may not always be so easy for me to keep my own emotions in check while I fumble through the hows and whys. I only hope that I never forget this experience and at least try to put it into effect every time I feel victimised or used, angry or betrayed, so that I don’t let my own fear inspire an action I will later regret.

Every human being wants and deserves love. Give it! The cost to yourself is short-lived and the rewards can be beautiful for both yourself and others.
May your God be with you.