Wednesday, March 5, 2014

March 5: Ash Wednesday, White Wisdom, Biting the Bullet

It never sounds appropriate to say, "Happy Ash Wednesday!"  That's sort of like saying, "Did you have a good time at your uncle's funeral?"  Happiness doesn't accompany the start of Lent.  It's supposed to be a solemn time, full of reflection and meditation.  I mean, the ashes smudged on your forehead are supposed to remind you of death and sin.  There isn't a jolly fat elf in red fur coming down the chimney this evening.

I'm not going to a church service tonight.  I'm fine with that.  I've been in a kind of ashy mood for most of the day, anyway.  Thinking about my life, job, career, writing, wife, kids.  I will admit that I've been feeling a little sorry for myself.  This morning, I bit the bullet and applied for a couple of different positions in the hospital.  I've been avoiding this step in the job search process.  After almost 17 years, I have to find new employment.  I have to interview, sell myself.  I haven't had to do that for a really long time.

I think, for the past week, I've been pulling an ostrich.  Burying my head in the sand, not wanting to confront reality.  Unfortunately, I know that won't work forever.  So, here I sit, the clock ticking, not knowing what the future holds for me.  Some people have told me this past week, "God never shuts a door without opening a window."  Well, at the moment, it feels like God's opened a window on the tenth floor and there's a whole lot of hard, cold cement beneath me.

I know that everyone encounters struggles in life.  I am not alone.  Even the young E. B. White, future New Yorker essayist and beloved children's author, struggled:

He was often on the edge of sadness and fear.  The thought of school especially frightened him.  As a small child, he threw screaming tantrums, begging to stay home in his beloved family castle instead of entering kindergarten.  This battle he naturally lost...

Like White, I know that I'm going to lose this battle.  That doesn't mean I won't throw a few more screaming tantrums, beg to stay in my current job.  After all, I don't like what's happening, but I can't ignore it either. 

Saint Marty will accept it.  Do what he has to do.  Find a way to be happy.

This really isn't an option

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