Sunday, August 3, 2008

This Desert Life (or, what is: Not Exactly Ironic, But Enough To Write A Song About)

One morning during my first semester of graduate school I was not happy with my location, placement, or situation. I didn't want to be in Tahlequah, didn't like my job, and I was thinking Abba might have been on the same page. I was in my big closet that morning, irritated and willing. It was one of those, "I'm willing to go wherever you want me. All you have to do is tell me and I will go," type of prayers. A 'Here am I" sort of thing. And I was as genuine and honest as I could have been. I offered myself, that was that.

Maybe an hour later I was opening up my office and preparing for another day of boring work, which I was dreading. Then my phone rang.

I met a HR woman whom was representing a mental health organization in Bartlesville, OK, a few days before. She said she was still thinking about our meeting, has looked over my resume more closely, and was pleased to invite me to an interview for an open position.

A message straight from heaven.

This must have taken place in November. Christmas was more than a month away, but my step-mom couldn't wait. The day before the drive for the interview I had driven to Muskogee. I don't know the first thing about fashion, what looks good together, what matches, what's in style. Nothing. Tish picked some clothes out, and topped it off with the sports coat they were going to give me for Christmas. More than a month early, but this was a special occasion. I wanted to look good for the supernaturally ordained interview. Making a reference to Jake and Elwood, I was on a mission from God, and this called for only the best threads.

That Monday, I put another copy of my resume' on fancy paper, brought along a nice, crisp copy of my transcript (It took every ounce of self-control to not highlight and draw big arrows to the section which proved I graduated Summa Cum Laude when I finished my BA.). I knew I didn't have to go all that way; again, this interview was put together by the hand of YHWH. I didn't need anything but a willing heart, and all else would be taken care of.

To remind you, I was genuine about it all. I truly meant what I said in the closet a few mornings before. "I am willing to do whatever, go wherever, say whatever, act however You want. I'm ready. Send me." The phone call an hour afterwards was too close to be assumed coincidence. Almost too close to be assumed coincidence.

It's early Monday morning and I'm on the road towards Bartlesville. I like music just as much as anyone - maybe more than your average Joe - but I like the sound of a person's voice speaking more than most others. I choose NPR or AM talk radio over rock or blues more often than not. I brought along a sermon of Mark Moore that I had downloaded from his website and burnt to CD. God of the Desert. More than just Moore, others in the past have talked about times of seemingly separating silence, times when God-searchers, although they have tasted and seen that the Lord is good times before, are now coming up dry. Brennan Manning talks in his book, The Signature of Jesus, about how these periods of God's silence, how they don't mean that God has gone away. This time isn't necessarily punishment, but a time of great growth through a pushing on and persevering despite of the dryness. Job says 'Thou He slay me, yet I will hope in Him...' (13:15). During the Desert Time, YHWH shows us where we stand up against the statement, 'Thou He is silent, still I will serve the Lord.' I understand This Desert Life. Maybe more than those bird counters.

I was eager to hear what Mark had to say about it. I was looking for some solace as I was on my way to fulfill my calling (a little exaggerated, I know). I love the human voice, but, when I am driving, I more listen to it subconsciously than attentively. Moore was talking as I was driving, but I was more feeling the vibrations of the speaker next to my leg than I was interpreting the words spoken. For some random reason, however, as I was on a stretch of unexciting highway, my ears so randomly perked up and I payed attention to a sentence.

The first sentence I really heard for miles: "Some of you are coming to God and telling Him, 'I'm ready. Send me wherever you want me to go and I will go there to serve You with everything. I'm ready.' You say these words, and wait..and wait...and wait. I tell you, maybe God is not saying anything because you are exactly where He wants you to be."

I was confused, because I thought the phone call I had received just three days prior was a clear message. But this moment in my car, maybe an hour away from the interview of my life, this now was the message: Wait. (I've heard the Lord say Wait before. It's not as exciting as a "Go to Zimbabwe" type of message, but it's a message. I'm familiar with that word..) I knew I would wait.

Still did the interview. And still made the same trip two days later, because, even though I told them a polite no, they were persistent and I was a polite pushover. A total of 4 hours of interviewing is a lot less stressful when you know that you are not going to accept an offer, no matter what they offer, how much they offer, or whatever else they offer. (Even offered to take me out to lunch, show me around the town, find an apartment, and what have you. Isn't it ironic? At least as much as a traffic jam when you're already late.). Those were the two best interviews I have ever been a part of.

Oh well.


Mindless Explorer said...

I wish you could drop out of graduate school and write for Rolling Stone or another somewhat hip periodical.

Erin said...

And now your in Japan.....interesting...veeeery interesting