Dan, what happened?

Good. Question.

Well I forgot to write in this for over two months and during that time a lot of things have changed. I have about 4 or so posts queued up in my draft folder to tell you all about it, but suffice to say, change begets change. I am excited to tell you all about those acheivable goals, but right now I just want to focus my thoughts on a very specific and selfish topic, prayer.

I’ll be the first to admit I am not a very religious person.

  • I’m the kind of religious zealot that interprets my Sunday obligation in pretty generous ways. And not for the second collection baskets. For a good 6 months at the end of high school I went to Mass, idled in the parking lot behind my favorite coffee shop, listening to This American Life and sipping on an iced mocha.
  • Before that, I was a a dweller of “God’s Back Porch”, the small space by the doors at the back of the church.
  • Now? I mostly just do Brunch. I won’t bore you with my discernment (or lack there of). Religion is a deeply personal experience and I was pretty selfish and melodramatic at that age (and still am.)
  • BUT I AM a very nostalgic person. And for as much as religion is a personal, my history with it is just as severely rooted in my family, my past, and my traditions. Which is why my roommates may question my ever growing collection of votive candles. And why I haven’t met a cathedral I didn’t just have to poke my head into at least once.
  • OH AND last week I was updating my OKCupid profile questions with real answers, and I came across (and did not alter):
  • Do you believe in the power of prayer?

    I replied: Yes.

So all disclaimers aside… I did attend a Jesuit high school and I learned a prayer there that I have found myself saying a lot this week.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

The routine of this is calming.

Headed into work on the morning train, squeezed up against a gentleman’s armpit? Serenity, please.
Yelled at in the lunch line for day-dreaming while they ask a fourth time whose salad this is? Serenity, please.
Twiddling thumbs at your desk as you wait for a task, any task at your job? Serenity, please.
Gmail hidden behind a firewall? Serenity, please.
Curt email replies regarding the temp status of your job, and the “non-employee” badge that comes with it? Serenity, please.
Crying in a bathroom stall at capacity with 40-somethings too stubborn to kick their dairy habit? Serenity, please.
Working on a Saturday afternoon for the job you left about a week ago? Serenity, please.

Yes, I got a new job

I’ll tell you all about the process in a designated post.

But, I am praying this week because I am beginning to feel like I made a mistake. This year is all about making mistakes, but they were forgivable and trivial: the meal get out of jail free cards; the laughable attempts at a bedtime; the water bottle I still haven’t purchased. Each day is a new attempt to be achievable. But last week I got a new job. And those aren’t really the kind of things I can change from one day to the next.

So this week I am praying for serenity for a new job I cannot change.

Luckily, as I am reminded by my co-workers, this job is temporary. And I am taking comfort in that. But it is not something I should take for granted. This is an opportunity to learn, to grow, to build; an opportunity for which I need to be strong enough to take the good with the bad.

I’m praying for the courage to change the things in my life I can.

Like my apartment, my diet, my weight, my exercise habits, the decorations in my cubicle, and even my career outlook. It took courage to take the first step out from the safety of my first real job. I have talents and skills that are valuable, but I need to find people I value and want to share them with.

And I’m praying for the wisdom to know the difference between a job and a career.

I am learning a lot about the things I want to do and the things I’d rather not.
A job is more than a commute or a pay check.
I’d rather have a job that inspires me.
I’d rather have a mission that is just.
I’d rather have a job that challenges me.

Prayer is a thing I turn to when I feel like I can’t do much else. This is pretty true of most religious moments. I think it would be helpful to take the time this year to give my prayers the space to take themselves seriously. I’ll add it to the list.

So in summary, I probally made a mistake. I’m praying this week that I can forgive myself and try again.