This spring and Easter bring Final Four frenzy for us Badger basketball fans—but I am not putting all my hope & eggs in that faux Easter basket. Not this time.
Memories of what happened when I relied too much on a Wisconsin team winning it all last January or last April still hurt (EDITOR’s NOTE: see Kindness Blog posted January 20, 2015). This time around, if Bucky Badger loses in the Final Four, I will still survive and move on. I can say that before the Big Game, because of sweet acts of kindness that have come my way to cheer and sustain me, even re-direct me. Self-awareness improves receptivity to such kindness. When feeling down, I know that I tend to ride others’ success vicariously and vehemently as a way to be cheered up. If only they win, then I will…. But I am only fooling myself when I say that.
To let the fickle hand of fate or a bouncing ball control my internal sense of well-being is to court disaster.
I am better than that, stronger and smarter than that. Hence, I can attract and reflect back the sense of well-being that goes beyond a single game. This time, armed with this self-awareness, I can resist that tendency to put all my hope and eggs in one Easter Basket. I shall apply this same self-restraint and humbling insight to halt the depression I might otherwise slide into when I consider another loss: Bigger than losing a game, I just lost a job. I am no longer a hospice chaplain. I failed to make the grade and graduate from seven weeks of boot camp this last time around. In the end, I didn’t do enough to get from my bosses that hoped-for vote of confidence: “You’re good to go” as a chaplain. Instead, my career path failed to re-launch;
I am grounded, in need of further work, out of sorts and unemployed. That saddens me.
But hope is not lost. Following this layoff, the two who voted me off the team sent cards, wishing me “God’s best.” In my case, and at my age, the best is now volunteer work. In this regard, I am feeling buoyed by those who are kindly supporting our short-term mission to the Dominican Republic. “You’re good to go,” say Doug & Vicki, directors of our Hands of Hope project in the DR. With all my support needs covered by our April deadline, I am feeling the wind under my wings. It’s not what happens to me, but how I interpret it, that counts, so I tell myself. Hence, I see in their generous support a much-needed moral and emotional boost, a vote of confidence that I am “good to go”—at least to the DR this July. Happily, with all this free time I have between now and then, and with word spreading that I can still act and write to support other worthy causes, I’ve attracted a few more volunteer gigs. Since losing my job last month, I’m now supporting others in theirs:
- My pastor, as he plans his 2016 sabbatical, needs a grant request written.
- Our DR team likewise seeks foundation grant to cover ever-growing admin costs.
- Missionaries from church need a blogger like me telling their story online.
- My church asked me to teach “Building Community through Acts” this Spring.
- A former employer wants me to help them with a big corporate move this month.
Lesson learned. I will not put all my eggs in the basket of a Wisconsin’s team or only in paid work. I urge the same for you fans of Kentucky, Michigan State or Duke. Likewise you folks who are left behind by your employer, out of work and feeling out of sorts.