Recently, I foolishly did the wisest thing I have ever done. I quit a job that paid quite well in the midst of this terrible economy. There were many reasons for my stepping away from a career that spanned nearly a quarter-century, but the simplest is that I could find no life in that particular work any more. Trading life to “make a living” is far more foolish than trading financial security to find life, even if on the surface it appears otherwise, because time is the one commodity we can never recoup. I long to make more than a living–I long to make a life.
That foolishly wise decision has been followed by a terrible and wonderful insight. I have no interest whatsoever in “finding a job”. I want to make it clear that I have no issue with working. Working honestly and properly balanced with the rest of life pays the soul as much or more than it pays the bills. But I know too many people just dying for Friday to arrive and dreading every Monday. The key word there is “dying”. Slogging through five days in the hope of living for two is a devil’s bargain, a subtle slavery in which I have no interest.
Jesus said “Seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you.” This begs a question–what am I looking for, and what doors am I knocking on? We tend to impose “religious” teachings on Jesus’ words but he seemed far more concerned with just living. “I have come so that you may have life, and have it to the full.” That doesn’t sound like one of my old Sunday sermons. Go looking for a job or a way to pay the bills and that is likely all we will find. Perhaps it is time to look for something bigger.
My wife, in a brief discussion of this subject, immediately asked me “How do I do that?” She is big on the practical side of things and I appreciate her for it. I’m an idea guy, and idea guys need people who asked hard practical questions. Immediately two words came to mind. Passion and compassion. Whatever I do with my days needs to be able to feed the passion for living in my heart. But it also needs to be larger than my ego and my selfish tunnel vision. It needs to feed my life but also the life of the larger world. We aren’t discussing the smallness of selfishness here, but the largeness of living fully and returning that life we have been given back to the larger Life from which we all spring.
But what of revenue? We all need money, right? Generally yes (though often not as much as we suppose). I know only that Jesus said we weren’t to worry about tomorrow, that God clothes the flowers and feeds the birds and will certainly feed me as well if I seek what matters. And one of the most successful business people I know told me recently that he always felt if he tended to what was important the revenue would come. Again, not without activity, but certainly without worry and without making money one of my little gods. So here I sit with a strange peace, having found something to do with my hands for a few weeks, something that taxes my body yet frees my mind, something that pays enough to buy food and pay the bills and leave me content. And that is enough.