There's a washing basin in front of every Buddhist temple and everyone washes their hands before entering. The one in front of Kinkaju temple in Kyoto is inscribed with the words of Buddha: "I strive for contentment."
Contentment is being at peace with yourself right where you are at this very moment. It's accepting that right where you are right now is as good as it gets. I struggle with this.
As the three of you who follow this blog know (ok, maybe there's only two of you, but you get the idea), I've been in an eight month long search process in Massachusetts. I entered other searches during the past eight months but the doors closed quickly on all the others while this one up north seemed to stay open. Well, it closed down last week when I received the news that they chose another candidate.
Yes, I can accept (at least academically) that God has a plan and it will all work out, but it doesn't feel like that right now. Don't get me wrong, I am very grateful to the folks at Calvary UMC and St. Mark's in Lappans for the opportunity to be in ministry with them! But I know my limits and trying to keep two part-time positions straight in my head and to function well with a "split life" ... well, I'm not feeling very effective at it. I spend at least a day a week playing "catch up" to try and figure out what I missed during the days I was away working at the other church. I can't keep it all straight and I've just given up trying. Maybe I could have pulled it off better back when I was 25, but I'm 45 juggling two part-time positions and trying to be a wife and mother too. It's like trying to outrun an avalanche!
My spiritual director asked me, "What if this is as good as it gets?" He knows I'm trying to find a full-time position that would have decent pay and benefits. I aspire to earn more than what I can legitimately write off as housing allowance, have full funding on my pension, health insurance, and vacation ... but it isn't happening for me (or for several other priests in our diocese who are under or unemployed).
What if this is as good as it gets? Frankly, I don't know. I know I can't hang on with multiple part-time positions indefinitely ... it's exhausting! Maybe God's trying to close doors to send me in a different direction and I'm really not called to parish ministry. Who knows? I don't, but in the meantime I'll keep praying and plugging along where I am ... and listening for options.