I am thirty minutes out from my third quiz before Spring Break–mid-term, really, even though the teachers call them quizzes. I still have a paper to write and notes to take for a class where you are made to feel weird if you don’t participate. There is only about 5% of me left that really wants to be doing this. The rest of me wants very badly for the week free of classes to be here already, even though I will have a million householder duties, like doing taxes, getting the car serviced, etc. piled on me by the time the break gets here.
I am wanting very badly to turn around and put my hand back on the plow, even though I know that this will be a clear signal that I am not fit for the Kingdom of Heaven. I am not saint, though. I tried to be. I couldn’t hack it. I don’t have the patience required to put up with difficult people outside of my family. I am allowing myself to be seduced by endless visions of the happy, suburban life in all of its perfect glory–weekends at Chuck E Cheese, bowling, Gattitown and camping at the lake; trips to the public library to check out science fiction; Netflix binge watching–there are probably ten or more well-known series of shows I’ve been meaning to see one day in their entirety from start to finish–Lost, Breaking Bad, Sopranos, Game of Thrones, etc.; church at that perfect suburban church (yes, it’s mostly WASPs like me) that doesn’t make you feel too guilty about not being Christian enough either in the social justice sense or in the “are you saved” sense of the word; summers to Disneyland, Disneyworld and all-American places like Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Bryce, Yoesemite, etc.; every few years, trips to Europe or Mexico; brand new cars in the garage more often than not; a garage for both cars; you name it, I’ve probably dreamed it.
Does this mean I am seeking my reward here on earth? Perhaps. It could also mean that I have obtained a much more realistic picture of just who God is and what God expects from me. In reality, most of your American pastors since there ever was such a thing have been men and a few women who more or less live the same lives as the suburban office schmuck–the difference may be by degree–most tend to be poorer than their middle-class counterparts, a few much richer, but at the end of the day, you can’t drive down the block of the suburban communities in just about any middle size town to large city and say: “Gosh, that house must belong to a TRUE disciple of Christ–it’s temporary and ramshackle, and clearly exhibits Christ’s exhortation not to be concerned with the morrow.” Of course not! So then, why am I letting myself feel so guilty about my potential ending of my seminary career?
Because I’ve already bitched and pissed and moaned to my wife and anyone else who will listen how unhappy I was being a button pusher for a marketing crew, and how much I needed to be on the path toward a vocation, and how important seminary was for me. I will be letting down so many people, and pissing off a few. I will be burning a bridge that says I can never really seriously attempt a return to grad school again.
It’s not that I’ve completely made up my mind to move back into the marketing world–but, if the right offer comes along, I am not going to turn it down at this point. I’ve reworked by LinkedIn profile to make it attractive again to recruiters, and have started getting recruiter hits. I’ve sent out a few applications. I am having conversations with people about what getting back into all of that world would look like. It is a world that can have a tremendous appeal to it–going to conferences in places like Vegas, San Francisco and Orlando–sometimes NY and Boston when you are especially lucky—all on the company dime, so that means you can drink it up at the airport and hotel bar for free and sleep in the finest hotel rooms and be treated like a king when you step onto the Expo floor and you aren’t attending as a vendor. The world of pretending like you give a shit about sales and marketing strategies for generating leads is such a fancy, special one, that you start to forget that you are just spending a lot of time getting drunk and bs’ing your way from one conversation to the next.
Actually, it’s kind of amazing how just about any profession seems to require a certain level of bs’ing to prevent you from showing your true hand to the world. At the end of the day, I would rather be bs’ing my way through a secular career where work is work, a job is really just a job, and lives and souls are not at stake, than find myself in the state of bs’ing my way through a vocation where I am faking my piousness to prevent people from seeing a human being living underneath.