the other day i was thinking about my lay off from youth specialties (really, from zondervan, in reality), which i don’t do as often these days. i happened to be looking at my calendar at the time, and thought about how it was october 19 when the shoe dropped. and, i was struck by the realization that today is 6 months. already. that surprised me.
it feels more like 3 months.
i spent a little time with current ys-staffer adam mclane last night, and, as is normal, we talked about ys and what’s going on in that world. they’ve moved offices (again – we’d moved to a new place last june). and there are only a handful of people there. and, i was once again struck by the reality that this new, or different, ys is moving on.
and so am i.
there’s no question that i miss so much of my old role. i miss the people i worked with (and am so lousy at that staying-in-touch-when-life-is-busy thing). i miss the buzz of a busy workplace, hearing laughter, wrestling with things together. i miss the working-together collaborative way we were trying to do things around there, particularly with the ys leadership team. i miss being part of a team, and leading a team. shoot — i even miss meetings (because our meetings were usually fun, even when we were dealing with tough stuff).
but here’s what i know today: if i were offered my old job, i wouldn’t take it.
in my first month, all i could really feel was the pain of what felt so horrible. there was anger and loss and anxiety and insecurity and sadness all smashed up into a nasty little ball of mush. but the dominant emotion was hurt. i could go into my head, and look at the piece-parts that added up to the reality, and knew that i wasn’t a failure. and i knew that the people who really knew the whole story didn’t see me as a failure. but my emotions still screamed, “FAILURE!”; and i was awash in a mostly inescapable feeling that the world out there was screaming the same thing.
but that feeling, once i got past the initial shock and pain of the corporate process in which i was let go, slinked away and was replaced by a combination of hope and sadness of loss. hope, for sure; but combined with a reality that i was losing people, experiences, and things i loved that would never return, never be the same. in the last few months, i’ve been charging forward on many new projects and opportunities. and it’s deeply good. other than some ongoing anxiety over whether or not what i’m currently doing will be sustainable in the coming year(s), i’m generally excited about what’s on my plate, about being home, and about the diversity of stuff i get to play in these days. even my increased travel has not been an issue (as it was in the past), since, when i’m not traveling, i’m home (and not going to an office for 10 hours a day). i occasionally feel a bit lonely and isolated, sitting here at my little desk; but i realize it’s the flip-side of the “i just need some time alone” feeling i used to have. and my relational tanks are pretty full these days, with the great people-stuff i get to be involved in.
i’m feeling a little melancholy today, particularly as i write this. but that’s rare these days. mostly, i’m pressing into what the week has to offer. in the last 10 days, for example, i got to speak to parents about teenagers, teach youth workers in guatemala, spend a day at home getting caught up, which included writing a couple magazine columns and a book chapter, conduct a 1:1 coaching time with a youth worker, connect with a non-profit i’m doing some consulting with and move that project forward, spend two days with the 9 youth workers in my youth ministry coaching program, and travel with my son to baltimore to speak to a couple hundred junior highers. what a freakin’ great week!
i’ll be coming to both youth specialties conventions this fall (in san diego and nashville) and doing a few seminars in each. i know the time there will be awkward for me at times, and i’ll feel a bit lost at times. but i also can’t imagine a place i’d rather be. well, other than, like, a beach in tahiti or something, or, ya know, heaven.