These words have depicted my journey since leaving the hospital last September. I get puzzled looks after I use these two words, and it's amusing. I will hold on to these two words as I grow forward. Here is my attempt to sync these words together accurately.
It has been beautiful discovering hidden passions and desires within me that somehow were buried along my way. It seems easy to "truck" through life accomplishing the daily, one day at a time. One day after my departure, Jeanne called me to see how I was doing, and I responded, "I am glad." I started laughing all in the same breath because I couldn't tell you when I never described myself as "glad." Glad that day was a day of arrival for me, a settledness that I had not felt in a long time in my soul. Were all things answered and accounted for in my life at that time? No, and they still are not, but my soul is so good. There was refreshed assurance that all is well, and there was a settled peace and contentment at that moment and that felt very good. How did this happen? It was a long process that continues and it started with deep conversations considering what God has/is inviting me to. A step of willingness to yield to something greater than for something good. A longing for more meaningfulness in the ordinary of my life than in the hustle of the busyness of life that one loses their self in. Clearly, God was wooing me near Him. I was unable to scratch that itch until my yielding bowed towards Him. This beauty has been discovering Christ in new fresh ways. He is all who He says He is and much more than I will ever know. This discovery has cultivated a deeper love for Him and deeper experiences of His deep love for me. In His presence, I have been made alive by a new awareness of who He created me to be. The surprises have been almost countless. As Jeanne and I sat on the porch talking a while back about this beautiful hard journey, she said,"It's fun watching you come alive again." Coming alive is beautifully real to me...and I am just nine months in.
You may be wondering, what's been hard? I will not detail you to death by unpacking it all, but hit the highlights. One difficulty has been responses from people close to me who didn't express it with words necessarily but with body language that they think I am crazy for walking away from such a secure job. I felt a sense of disappointment in these encounters. Another difficulty has been the discovery of the things that fed my ego, like being the Chaplain Coordinator for a small staff at a hospital. This was a goal that I obtained and I am proud of, but didn't realize how that stroked my ego. The 'need to be needed' by patients, families, and staff was hard to let go of. This was another area that stroked the ego, questioning as if to say, "Rob, are you still needed?" These are broad strokes of very detailed, in-the-moment feelings that needed exposing to the Lord and to others to see clearly and to understand me differently. Hard stuff but good stuff! Last, the relationships that are no longer a part of my daily life at the hospital - they are missed and they were important on my journey - great people work at BHF. On the flip side, I have met amazing people I would never have met by working in the hospital. Like I said, "beautifully hard."
There are two guard rails that need to be kept in holy tension with one another, "beautiful" and "hard" as I discern my walk with Christ. It seems to me this is the work of God in our lives. The beauty, foremost is the discovery of Christ, and the second is discovering within us who He intends for us to be. This is life-giving. As my friend told me today, this is the life abundant that Christ promises. On the other hand, hard, because I have to let go of my expectations in this life and embrace my faith to see life through a different lens. A lens through which I see God in my life; He's working in me and through me. He has more, way more than I can ask or imagine. It's hard to let go of this "self-manufactured" control over my life and relax in His care for me.
I invite you to walk the road of holy intention between the beauty and hard parts of your life, knowing that the Shepherd walks with you this very day. He leads us by quiet waters and green pastures, He restores our soul and leads us down paths of righteousness for His name's sake. He is doing this work.
If you would like space to talk about such things, I invite you to reach out. I would be honored to sit with you. Peace, my friend.