Inviting Mini-Martyrdom

March 7, 2013 — 2 Comments

For those of you who are frequent readers of my blog, you’re somewhat familiar with my journey from atheist to Catholic. For new readers, I entered the Church in 2001 but it was the last four years of extraordinary trial that cemented my faith in God.

St.-Peter-2-230x150In my last post, I wrote about a possible job. I’m still in discussions with the CEO but it’s proving to be a very positive experience. He’s very keen on identifying folks who will fit in with the culture, who are great (not good) team players and who have exceptional skills and character. Amid a thorough process, I’ve also had to succinctly articulate lessons learned from crawling along my road to perdition.

Because of this reflective assignment, I’ve sensed an obligation to identify myself as a Christian. In today’s increasingly secular world, by taking this tact you’re never quite sure how you’re going to be received. It could be a big mistake. Was I inviting mini-martyrdom?

Let me share some of my correspondence with the CEO.

I was asked specifically about life after my crash and burn in 2009 which was financial, spiritual and physical.

I worked occasionally as a substitute teacher, worked in a coal yard and wrote a book. I learned that my mistakes over the last few years weren’t monumental and that I was also tripped by events. Like the prodigal son who goes away and foolishly spends his inheritance, he’s then hit with a famine. I went to Durango and spent my money and then the great recession erased my new job opportunities. So I had to scramble just to eat.

But more importantly, I needed to find a spiritual footing, reflect on my patterns and trends and figure out the true priorities in life. Which I did. I guess I had a mid-life crisis in the middle of a crisis. But one point needs to be emphasized. I was trapped in Wyoming and did not have the resources to go where the jobs where. As much as I wanted to be the middle of real estate, it was not in the cards. And pride prevented me from reaching out. In retrospect, that was a mistake.

One other point. Early on in my book, I decided to take a hard look at myself. I asked the following question. Can I pinpoint an event or behavior that triggered the chaos of today? No, I can’t. I’m not a drug addict. I’m not an alcoholic. I’m not a criminal. I haven’t elevated one particular vice to Godhood. I’m not morally corrupt­­­. As a blanket statement, I’m a good man.

However, could it be my spiritual emptiness has something to do with my circumstances? Is my lack of divine perspective the reason I’m so unwise, so ungrounded? My life is not properly ordered, so how can I possibly stay on course or maneuver through a minefield of bad moments. Is that my problem?

As it turned out, the lack of faith was THE problem.

I was also asked about passion.

The interesting thing about falling on your face is that a lot of people never really get back up. Or if they do, they’re bitter or angry or both. Not so with me. I’ve been through a remarkable gauntlet and I’m a better man because of it. I’m also excited about the next stage of my life both personally and professionally. The way I see things is that my life, my world, are all gifts from God and should be treasured. That’s what I feel passionate about. And a rewarding job should be integral to that life of passion.

The two responses above were part of a much longer email. So how did my candor go over? Was my image of a crucified St. Peter just a silly thought?

I had a return email within hours. It was thoughtful, positive, considerate and encouraging. I’m still in the hunt. The next step for me is to pray that my twelve references are in a good mood.