Monday, August 28, 2006
It dawned on the this morning around 5:18am, while I was sitting on my patio in the dark getting ready to go to what I call my 8 1/2 hr prison, that part of my current struggle of life is over the issue of my identity, or simply put, what do I think of myself? For several years my faith was directly attached to what I did as a minister. There was a built-in motivation to pray or study the Scripture because it was my job and if I didn't then I wouldn't be doing what I was paid to do. This behavior became normal. I was what I did and what I did became my identity. Then came the tearing away of that identity. 11 months ago I started my current job, one that I took out of desperation of needing some kind of income. My first day on the job I found myself in the dishroom of a college dorm cafeteria washing dishes. While this was not what I was hired to do, its all there was for me to do that day. So there I was, elbow deep in institutional strength Dawn dishsoap, scrubbing pans with deaf mute woman and a severely autistic young man. All I could think of was, "What have I gotten myself into?" It was a plunge into the icy deep. I felt like the newest member of the Polar Bear Club. My identity was stripped. I am no longer Worship Leader that writes cool songs. I am now Dishwasher. My reference points were all lost. What would it mean to become a person of faith without a guitar, without an audience, with out a pulpit, without a congregation? I would guess a similar transition shock occurs for anyone who has done something they love for an extended period of time, only to find themselves unable to express that passion any longer. I hope I can change gracefully. It's always a little awkward to watch athletes come out of retirement because they can't face the fact that there is no more place for them in the spotlight. Quoting Alanis Morrisette, "the only way out is through." Healing requires asking the right question. That starting day, mine was, "What does faith act like while holding a stainless steel scrubbie?" This is what I am beginning to find out.