Life in a Parenthesis

parenthesisWe have all kinds of projects to pursue, engagingly articulated and brilliantly planned between us, which all seem relegated to some distance day that, at my worst, I fear will never come. Although we keep working the plan, the ball and chain of financial debt and seven years of underemployment circumscribe our days. We occasionally escape thoughts of it through visits with friends or in the spontaneous conversations that spiral from height to height. But then the sameness of the scheduled free time, filled with errand running, bill paying, financial tallying, routine maintenance, and eventual personal collapse. Then the rallying to arrive on time to clock in at the prescribed hour. At intervals I implode into sorrowful depths of tears, or colorful vulgarities of speech, or dejected disbelief that we will ever come to the other side of this mundane trial. The weekly downward spiral when I realize, yet again, that I have run out of time for the things that matter.

running out of timeI have had jobs I loved, that I fit, that I enjoyed, that I worked hard to develop further. I had jobs that I felt proud of and which provided a certain amount of gratification. I enjoyed jobs well done which I felt made a positive difference for others.

There are some amazing people where I work who are smart, colorful, fun, kind, helpful, and diversionary. Yet the job itself holds the honor of being the worst mismatch of a job I have ever had. I have nary an ounce of passion for the purpose, thrill for the challenge, or delight in ownership. I only feel grateful that despite all, it is a job with a paycheck. Not a substantial paycheck, but a dependable paycheck. It is not that I am over or under qualified for my job. It is just the absolute wrong job for me. We don’t fit at all. Nothing about it suits my skills or interests or passions; nothing about my education or job history, or skill sets would lead me to this job.

square peg round holeIt is a filler that came along, as blessings often do, when my back was turned. I am exceedingly grateful for it, despite not liking it. It has nothing to do with what I want and everything to do with what I could get. It is the Catch-22 whose very presence on my resume may preclude me from ever being taken seriously as applicant for the kind of jobs that would fit my education, background, passions, and skill sets. If the truth be told, that is a luxury that can’t be worried about today. What matters is I have a job. A paycheck. Some promise of another paycheck. Another work week. Some possibility that, however slight, or poor, or mismatched, there is a plan, which is what we have at this moment, to dig out from under seven years of underemployed accumulated debt.

Most days I just want to escape: to find some way to hide so we can live our life, happily, like in those joy filled days when we owned our own studio, created our own business, made our own plans.

PH_Cross_ICONYes, I know. Those were part of the underemployment years, too. But looking back on those creative years they were rich and enjoyable ones. Work didn’t seem like work at all. It was lovely, and fun, and delightful. Our days were spent together, doing things that mattered, that made a difference to someone. Escape is tempting, but elusive.

Then several weeks ago my husband shook up the status quo. I came home and our kitchen had been turned into a painting studio. He hadn’t painted in years. But there he was working on painting a Kachina.

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When that was finished, he immediately started another.

16 06 24 Kachina 2Having finished those he is now working on a special painting for me, the entrance to a local ranch that we have long admired. This last week he has accepted a commission to paint a stand of aspens.

I’ve written about this man before. You can read about him here in my post called A Bit of an Edge. He has again stirred the pot and been himself.

It hasn’t changed everything. But it has brought life into that nagging parenthesis that had been circumscribed by joyless tasks. There have been painting supply orders. There have been picture frame orders. A curtain has been thrown open and sunlight has come into our daily lives again. He promised me he would give me the world. He continues to not only do that, but, thank you Jesus, let in the light. He is an amazing blessing in my life.

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