Monday, February 08, 2010

denied

I got word today that I did not receive a scholarship that I applied for last fall. Not that I was really counting on it, because you toss your application in with hundreds of others and never know how it will turn out. I thought I might have a pretty good shot at it, but it turns out that I never made it past the first round. Disappointing. I guess a tiny part of me had hoped that I would finally see some financial benefit from doing something that I loved - learning and studying. And I thought I was doing it quite well, but I obviously didn't have what they were looking for.

Dean is a very successful businessman and sometimes I feel the inequality between his ability to contribute to our finances and my lack of the same. I know I am smart and talented and creative, but it never seems to translate into income. In fact, all my creative projects seem to cost us money. I have asked God if it would be possible to get paid a living wage for doing what I believe he made me to do: be a creative and contemplative soul that shows the world things they would not see otherwise. So far...no go.

I don't fit very well into any known job description or vocation. I am not your typical academic. I don't have a trade to ply or a set of skills that everyone is clamouring for like a salesperson or an IT genius. After spending years in administrative jobs that were way beneath my skill set, I decided to try to make my own way and develop my own projects. Though much more fulfilling and challenging, they have failed to reap monetary rewards.

I get paid in encouraging words. I get paid in offers to share my writing and photography and other creative projects, but rarely for any recompense. My whole life is pretty much a volunteer job. And in general, I am content with that. We have a great place to live and food to eat and enough to share. Why complain? But every so often, the lack of receiving compensation for what I do strikes at my value as a person.

And so, I continue to ask God questions. Is this a silly request? To see uncommon rewards for an uncommon ability? I know my acquaintances (and even some strangers) appreciate what I do and who I am, but is that all I am to expect? Have I gone about this the wrong way? Should I just suck it up and get a normal job? Should I try to squeeze my creativity into something more recognisable and marketable? Can I ever give Dean the gift of not having to be the only provider? Is it just a moment of discouragement and it will pass? Do I just keep going or is there something that needs to be readjusted in my life? In how I think? What does it mean for you to be my provider? What does it mean to let you build my life instead of trying to build it myself? Am I enough? Are you enough?

I'll let you know if I get any answers.
This is a picture of 10 Downing Street in London, or at least as close as they would let us get.
A NOTE ADDED THE FOLLOWING DAY: Interestingly, my reading for today was 1 Corinthians 9. I realised this morning that my two reasons for wanting to be paid are not valid:
1. Taking the pressure off an over-worked Dean is not my job. How he deals with the pressures in his life is between him and God, and I have to trust that God knows what he is doing in writing Dean's story.
2. God provides for me without much help on my part. It is humbling to always be a receiver in this area, but this is one of my greatest strengths as well. I know how to receive. I know how not to rely on my own resources. Let me enjoy and be grateful for this life outside the system; it is a rare gift indeed.

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