Twice last night, I was awoken by the sound of the doorbell, but it turned out to be a dream. The experience might be a sign from God, but what does it mean? If this Agrium thing doesn’t work out, does God want me to become an Avon Lady?
The first bing-bong came at 5 a.m. I heard it, sat up in bed and expected all heck to break loose – sleepy-eyed boys (feline and human) wandering out of their room to see what all the hubbub was about, and an instantly-alert Labrador Retriever barking and snorting her way to the front door to give the visitor what-for. But the house was completely quiet. ‘Weird,’ I thought. ‘A sleepy bunch, I guess.’ I stumbled down to the entrance, peeped through the peephole and saw no one. ‘OK, musta dreamed it, I guess. Back to bed.’
But it didn’t really seem like a dream. As I tried to get back to sleep, I realized it didn’t quite feel real, either – something more than a dream, but less than reality. But that could well have been just middle-of-the-night cobwebs clouding my perception, I told myself. Sleep came again.
One hour later: Bing-bong!
The whole exercise repeated itself. Nobody there. Was this second misadventure just a product of the pseudo-ethereality of the first, which was, in all likelihood, just simple brain garbage? Probably.
I can’t stop thinking about the experience and connecting it with that of the biblical Samuel – the last Judge, who eventually crowned the first two kings of Israel (Saul and David).
When he was a boy, Samuel worked for a priest named Eli, and one night as he was going to bed, he heard his name called. He figured it was his boss, so he ran to Eli, who said he was mistaken and sent him back to bed. Same thing again: ‘Samuel!’ ‘Here I am, Eli!’ ‘I didn’t call you; go back to bed!’ One more time it happened, but this time Eli clued in: ‘I’m not calling you; God is. If it happens again, say, “Speak, Lord. Your servant is listening.'” Samuel obeyed, and his incredible journey of faith began. (Paraphrased from 1 Samuel 3:1-10)
The parallels are staggering, aren’t they?
Sure they are, baldy. Delusions of grandeur much?
I know, I know.
A few paragraphs ago, when I said the experience didn’t quite feel real and didn’t quite feel like a dream, this wasn’t the first time I’ve had that kind of experience. The first was the subject of a Disciplehood entry I wrote last November (https://robpetkau.wordpress.com/2010/11/15/moment/), where I had a subtle, yet enormously, powerful encounter with the Holy Spirit. The double doorbell incident kinda felt like that. But could this just be wishful thinking?
Speaking of wishful thinking, I had a chance to visit My Spot – the location where I had my Moment – just a few weeks ago while attending the Cursillo retreat weekend at Entheos, just west of Calgary (https://robpetkau.wordpress.com/2011/05/04/mountain-top/).
I was inspired to visit My Spot by my friend Sean Krausert (http://globalwe.ca/about.html) – a church deacon, author and social justice activist who lives in Canmore. During a speech he was giving April 29, he walked over to His Spot, where – during a Cursillo weekend some years back – he gave his life to Christ. Within three weeks of that experience, Sean had left his chosen profession (law) and embraced a less lucrative and far more uncertain path as a Man of God.
I gotta tell you, I felt convicted.
Four months after my Moment, I arguably went the opposite direction. I took a job where I make a lot more money, but have a lot less time for family, friends, church and ministry. The company I work for is fantastic, the people are great, the work is challenging but achievable and I’m learning a lot. But overall, it pales in comparison to the time when I worked half-time at home, and could be there for my kids and church the rest of the time (How could it not?). Don’t get me wrong; I’m really grateful for the gig and I’m doing my best to set new standards in the realm of web content co-ordination. But compared with Sean’s story, it seems almost like a regression in my faith journey.
And since my job is only temporary – it has a six-month term that concludes on Sept. 14 – I’m sorta on pins and needles waiting to know what the next chapter of my life will be. Even if I grow to love this job wholeheartedly (I’m more than half there, by the way), it might come to an abrupt end all too soon.
With these thoughts swimming around in my soul, I went out to My Spot – a foot bridge across a beautiful, babbling brook at Entheos. I stood in the same spot where I’d asked God if I were born again just a few months before (and he answered in the affirmative). I reminisced about that encounter and thanked Him for the great experiences I’d had in the ensuing months, including the incredible professional opportunity He’d given me.
Then I asked Him if I’m really on the right path. It feels good to be earning more money, and our family’s goal of having me solidify my position as the family breadwinner so Karen can potentially replace me as the stay-home parent/freelance writer, is a sound plan. But is it God’s plan?
I felt as if He was calling me to something bigger (this is the wishful thinking I mentioned a few paragraphs ago); perhaps something in the same realm as what I’m doing now on a volunteer basis (I lead worship music on Sundays, write Christian blogs and have shown aptitude in the area of preparing talks/testimonials here and there), only moreso. I asked if He wants me to even – gasp – get into ordained ministry in one form or another.
I didn’t hear the answer during the visit to My Spot, but in the ensuing weeks, I think I’ve heard Him whispering, ‘Maybe, but not yet.’
That’s not the answer I wanted, but it’s probably the answer I need.
It might well be that God’s plan for me right now to be an office drone. Karen has filled that role for our family for almost six years now, while I’ve done enjoyable, rewarding work at home and at church – plus a whole lotta laundry. Maybe His plan for me is to sacrifice my ministries/hobbies for a while, so Karen can get a break and put more of her talents to work for family, church and community and see where that takes us.
Besides, a career in Christian leadership is not to be entered into lightly, and certainly not as a mere escape hatch from the drudgery of meetings, spreadsheets and commuting. And one thing’s for sure, if God does nudge me toward that kind of life, neither the journey nor the destination will be simple or effortless. Things will get tougher before they get easier, and much of what I hold dear today might not be part of where I end up.
Contrary to my joke at the beginning of this entry, I don’t think God’s plan for my life will be to go Avon. But He just might make it go Nova.
I guess I should be careful what I pray for.
Speak, Lord. (Gulp.) Your servant is listening.
Peace be with you.