Thursday, January 12, 2012

Where I Am

About six months ago, I wrote here about my decision to leave my stable, decent paying job with health insurance in order to move 50 miles and participate in starting a church with friends. I talked about how it was an attempt to find and fulfill my life's purpose and calling, and how, for the first time, I was letting my sense of vocation determine my actions rather than the need to pay the bills. I said that even though some days I wondered if I was making the right choice, I had to believe that if God had called me, he would provide for me and make things possible. This was what it meant to live by faith, I said, to not be a prisoner of my circumstances. When I think about those words now, it nearly makes me sick to my stomach.

To put it bluntly, the last four months since I left my job and moved here have been among the worst of my entire life. In fact, I can only think of one other time in my life that things seemed worse than this. I have spent the last four months feeling like nothing so much as a prisoner of my circumstances. The truth is, right now, I have trouble seeing how it's possible to be anything else. All my former talk to the contrary now seems to me like a load of pretentious, self-deluded, spiritualized garbage.

Shortly after I moving here I got sick. Actually, it was a month to the day I had left my job and thus given up my health insurance. This was a scenario I had known was possible, and even feared on some level, but hadn't seriously entertained. I went to the doctor and paid out of pocket to be treated. I took the medicine I was prescribed and seemed to get better. But then, just as I was finishing the medicine, I caught a cold, and at the tail end of that I ended up with another sinus infection.

Of course I didn't want to believe it. But the symptoms were too clear (and too miserable) to ignore. So back to the clinic I went, to spend more money out of pocket. This time they put me on a different, supposedly stronger medication. Even before I had finished the course of medication, it became apparent that I wasn't getting better. I ended up on antibiotics a third time and didn't get better then either. By then I'd been sick for a month. 

On top of that, I was working two part time jobs, neither of which I really liked much. As a result of the time and energy consumed by the two jobs, I wasn't really able to participate in the life of the community I came to join either, a nice bit of bitter irony. I was discouraged, angry, exhausted, and overwhelmed.

To make a long story short, I ended up leaving one of the two jobs in the hope that the extra time to rest would help me get better. It didn't. Fearing possible pneumonia, I ended up going back to the doctor two more times, being put on antibiotics two more times, and I still didn't get better. Finally I was put on allergy medicine, which seemed to help some but didn't really make me better. I continued to feel lousy and exhausted all the time. 

Finally, I was able to take a vacation and go home over the week between Christmas and New Years. I was still feeling fairly lousy, but at least I was able to rest and enjoy spending time with my parents. My mom also paid for me to see her chiropractor, who gave me some supplements to treat my sinus problems. Leaving my parents on New Year's Day and returning to the miserable life I've been living here, was one of the saddest things I've ever done. I cried a lot that day and even the next.

After arriving back here, I began to treat my illness with an aggressive combination of home remedies and continued taking the supplements given by my mom's chiropractor. Over the course of a week, this seemed to help a lot. Then, a few days ago, with the help of friends, I had an appointment at a naturopath clinic. They put me on a restricted diet and gave me some more supplements to take. As of today, I am feeling much better, almost normal in fact. That is definitely something to be thankful for, but the story doesn't end there.

The whole time I was sick, I thought that if I could just get better, everything would seem fine, that I would be happy again. Now I'm feeling much healthier, but instead of being happy, I feel depressed. I made a big move and it was supposed to be a new start in life. Instead, it just feels like the same life I thought I was leaving behind, except worse. I'm working a job that I don't enjoy, the same kind of work as the job I left, except for far less money and with no health insurance. I'm living in someone else's house because I can't afford to live on my own. I'm nearly broke. I miss my family. I don't see a way forward.

A friend tells me that I lack faith that God is working in my life. That’s probably true. It’s hard to believe when life is so relentlessly painful and you don’t see a way out. God and His purposes seem like distant abstractions compared to the financial burdens I face, a job that makes me anxious and stressed all day, and my inability to see any way through these struggles. I'm tired of everything feeling like a continual painful uphill struggle towards nothing. I don't know what the answer is, but I feel like something needs to change, and soon. 

1 comment:

thekid said...

This is tough Gordon. To live, to read, to respond to. Feel free to just stand still and hold on to the only fast thing - Jesus - with your hands, your feet, whatever you can grip with. Think about the glacier metaphor at the end of Christ Plays. A long time can go in the glacier's formation where it seems like nothing is happening and then suddenly critical mass is achieved and things start to move. I love you and miss you.