We are in the season of advent, a period of darkness and waiting before the light and hope that comes from the birth of Jesus.
Right now, I am in my own season of darkness, season of waiting. A job I’ve been doing for 18 or so months… I didn’t get it when it came up permanently.
This is a terrible place to be and not just because I’m 40 years old, have a mortgage and I’m facing unemployment at Christmas. I’m angry, hurt, humiliated, bewildered.
There’s been much ugly crying. It’s feels like both a blessing and a curse to be an adult with commitments when all you want to do is crawl into bed and stay there.
Mostly though I’m just really sad at the loss of everything I hoped for. And now in almost no time at all having to say goodbye to friends and colleagues.
There’s no one to blame for this but myself. I did the best I could but not well enough. And while we could talk about the unfairness of it all, in the end no good will come from that. All I can do is take the hit, learn the lessons and make sure it never happens again.
The initial shock has worn off now and in between the moments of sheer panic, I’m trying to be philosophical. As a friend described this situation to me as God pulling the portcullis down and saying your life is going in a different direction. That’s great I’m really looking forward to that, but did he have to deliver the message with a blunt spoon?
But Advent just isn’t a period of waiting in the darkness. It’s about searching and hoping and looking for the light, it’s about waiting well and waiting wisely (to quote my vicar). I’m trying to do that.
And in having the worst happen, I’ve found a quiet peace, a determination to look forward, to reassess and find the light switch. I have absolutely no idea where it is but I’m hoping and trusting that I’ll find it when I need too.
All this year as I’ve been learning meditative prayer and I’ve been increasingly frustrated that it feels like it is making things worse not better. In facing this failure, I see that it has changed me. This time, rather than be bitter, defeated and thinking how useless I am at everything, I’m actively choosing compassion for myself and others.
I’m fortunate that friends, family, colleagues and my amazing network have reminded me frequently that this loss doesn’t reflect on my abilities. And these people whom I love have provided words of consolation and unconditional support. My community are actively praying, hoping and helping me look for the light switch and for this I am blessed.
Despite how this has ended, I mostly have no regrets about the decisions I made along the way. I acted true to myself and I gave it my all. Who could ever ask for anything else? Sure I’ll be more circumspect in the future but I still got to do amazing things this year and for that I’m truly thankful.
So while this isn’t the ending I wanted, maybe it’s the ending I needed. And the light that shines faintly in the distance… I put one foot in front of the other until it’s close.
One thought on “Looking for a light switch – an advent reflection”
speaking as a friend and someone who’s been there before, first of all I’m so sorry that things didn’t turn out the way you’d hoped. In a lot of ways I’ve seen us doing parellel journeys in library land and though mine has ended I’ve always felt you’ve had far more courage and passion to see yours through; sometimes I’ve even been jealous of that. You love what you do and it shows every moment you step up to that reference desk. So while things are scary (and I know that feeling all too well) believe me that light when you find it is the most brilliant, blinding thing ever. I love what I do now in ways I couldn’t imagine when I was in the same place you are, and I have every bit of faith that you will feel the same way too once you find where you’re meant to be.