Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Vacancies




Work is what we do and who we are. Notice that we say, "Mr. Smith is an accountant, a salesman, a manager." Not, "Mr. Smith is a father, a golfer, a jazz lover who works as an accountant, a salesman, etc". Like it or not, when you take a job it becomes part of who you are. Same when you lose one.
And although I left the teaching job in'97, I worked on the stones without taking a break until '03. I couldn't stand the thought of not being on project. Some time before the passion for artwork kicked the bucket, I got my first computer, and got on line. The goofy snapshot that headed Monday's post turned into the "Doesn't Play Well" project that took another couple of years to finish. But the story was a project, not a job. And when it was finished in'05, I didn't have anything to follow it up with.

The artwork sprouted under the eve of the teaching job, and grew strong enough to sustain me for a few seasons. Sprouting under the eve of the artwork was a spiritual hunger that pulled me back to a very cool "footbally" kind of internet site. At first I went to the footbally place for politics in the wake of 9/11, and news about the jihad; soon it was less about the politics, and more about 'meeting' with some few of the people there who seemed to carry a peculiar set of religious convictions that just- pulled at me like a magnet. Something in their words carried fire. And got them all expelled from the footbally place. Some started their own blogs. The Coonosphere was born. (thanks, Queeg!)

In the mean time I had *how do you say?* an overabundance of slack. And I was face to face with the Ghost of No Occupation- the place where you dread the "What do you do?" question, because the answer is, "nothing", and the part of you that is measured by what you do remains vacant.
That's not to say that I spent all my time staring at the wall or even the internet. After all, there was still the household to maintain, my mother to take care of, and the myriad details of life that can fill the better part of any day. I spent much time walking in the hills, much time in prayer, and much time wrestling with The Religious Question. And the Question seemed to be, "What do you want of me, God? What is it that You would have me do?"
Some time early in '06 I was marching up the first steep hill on my daily eight mile walk, and I just got The Voice again. And before I go on here let me explain what I mean by, The Voice: Compelling flashes of intuition, maybe. Sometimes, an actual voice in my ear. Ricky Raccoon described moments of intense visual focus. Some may describe a nudge from a Guardian Angel. I believe that most people can describe several such incidents in their lives. Anyway- this time it was a- voice. I was marching up the hill and... "Do you want to carry the fire?" it said. I got kind of a gut drop, and stopped mid-step. Whatever this was it was Real, and it sounded suspiciously like it was asking for a commitment. I didn't know... "You can refuse." it said. That set off a real gut drop. Whatever this was, I did not want to refuse it...And I just said, "Yes. Yes I will."
And just at that moment-

Nothing in particular happened.

JWM

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