Friday, June 1, 2012

Whom do you work for?

Attention writers: you may now begin debating the use of "who" and "whom."

But that's not my purpose here. I've been notoriously silent lately because my day job has really been burdensome. I think I'm also going through a midlife crisis. I have a good job. I'm blessed to work with such great people and do something reasonably interesting even though it's NOT writing fiction all day. If you can't do what you love, then do what you do well and can get paid for.

But it's still really, really hard dragging myself out of bed every day, dealing with the commute and the guilt for not being there for my family. We're all gaining weight due to our horrible diets and lack of exercise. It's so hard to think about cooking, exercising or even writing at the end of a draining day. I know I whine a lot to my coworkers and friends. They must think I'm the biggest spoiled brat in the world.

It's not that. It's that I keep wracking my brain trying to think of a way to DO this and be HAPPY. I don't sleep well, I'm stressed to the point of panic attacks, and I'm so FRUSTRATED as a writer I just want to cry. Actually I do cry. A lot.

I started taking St. John's Wort, an herbal mood supplement. It helps. And some different vitamins. And trying to get to bed earlier.

But something happened a few weeks ago that really put things in perspective for me. For one thing, the Lord blessed me with a very personal little insight, a tender reproach that makes me tear up even now thinking about it. He said very gently, "Christine, don't you know Me by now? Don't you think that I am with you and that I will bless you for your faithfulness in this time?"

Well, yeah. He has a point there.

Another thing that happened around the same time was a visit from some missionaries our church supports. They were Steve and Gail Quigg, with United Methodist Aviation Ministries. They go around the world educating missionary pilots on aviation safety. The work that these pilots do in remote areas is dangerous and irreplacable. You can see a video of it here:

I've heard them speak before, but this time Gail led our Sunday School time and I got to hear her talk more personally about her ministry to the pilots' wives as well as their need for a bigger plane that uses regular fuel rather than the very expensive and difficult to obtain airline fuel that is often stolen before it gets to them.

I realized as she talked that my working full time wasn't just for my family, it was for her and all the other charities I support. I spoke to her afterwards and told her how down I'd been feeling, but being able to write a check for that plane - a drop in a multimillion-dollar bucket, to be sure - made all the heartache and frustration worth it.

I realized that I'm not just working for my family, but for missionaries, hungry children and disabled veterans. Those are the three causes I personally choose to support. There are many others that I just have to turn down. Being someone who likes to give at least $50 or $100 each time, and who sometimes writes larger checks when I can, I get on the mailing list of "preferred donors" for certain charities. That means I get the special appeals when there is a crisis somewhere far across the globe. Being able to give is a gift in itself.

So I ask you, whom are you working for?


  1. Sorry, you've been going through a rough time. In answer to your question I make myself happy first and then my happiness spills out into my family!

  2. Oh, Christine, I'm sorry that work has been such a source of stress. But how encouraging to see that it is enabling you to come alongside others doing great work.

    We made a decision to commit to living in the city, even though that means good education options for our daughter are expensive. Days when I'd rather not have to fix passive voice and run-ons, I remember that it is a privilege to invest in my daughter and in being a Christian presence in the city.

    Praying that some breathing room with open up for you and that in the meantime you'll have peace.


I apologize for the word verification. I hate it, but the spammers made me do it.