Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Brown Bag Supper at the Census Desk

A quick pencil sketch of my carrots, water, and Jell-O from home (packed thoughtfully for me by Sean-more on this in a moment) supplemented by a chicken Caesar wrap and diet Coke from the student convenience store.

It was about the best I could manage in the few minutes away from receiving completed census packets last night. UCD freshmen received their census forms Monday morning in their mail boxes at each house-some 4,700 individual students living on campus in student housing. That doesn't even include the Greek system-about 1,200 more.

I'm so grateful for the work and the income at present, and the census is only going to be going on a short while longer. If it weren't, I wouldn't be able to stand the pace. Since it is a limited project, I didn't really mind putting in the 15 hour day yesterday, which started with fingerprint training in West Sacramento at 8:00 AM and ended around midnight last night on the UCD campus. All to the tune of relentless rain, which snarled the freeways and slogged the causeway between Sacto and Davis.

There were only moments to stop at home in between the two sites to grab food and get into some dry clothes. Sean was at home and put together a wheat-free supper for me in a brown paper sack-yogurt, snap peas, sugar-free Jell-O in a custard cup, and some sliced turkey.

I don't yet see the "where"of this new path I'm on. I really don't know what I am supposed to take away from this work on the census and I'm surprised to see that I have been given the gift of fingerprinting, among other gifts.

One thing is very clear, however. In the time that I have been releasing the things that are not authentically useful in this new phase of my life, I have once again had to confront the truth of who I am rather than what others were comfortable with who they wanted me to be. Life just proved out once again that sorrow at loss and celebration of the new and suitable can be at once bewildering and energizing.

I am reminded that melt-downs and euphoria accompany these times. Julia Cameron writes that such crises of spirit have a name in Sanskrit: "Kriya". For me they are the times I cannot move during the week after Vacation Bible School is over, or the deep depression that sets in after a particularly challenging retreat or even the high/low following a mission trip. Part of it is that during it all you don't take the time to confront the truths that are being revealed as you go through the experience. Part of it is that it doesn't make sense to you until later.

Like, the truth is "I can't work 50 hours a week at an underpaid job where people are constantly fighting everything I do." The kriya for me was nearly six months of illness last year, alternating between flu and colds and headaches and stomach trouble. But the truth is that I am happy to work 15 hours in a day when my contribution is appreciated and my gifts are recognized, even if it means an occasional brown bag supper. I wouldn't do it permanently, but it's been a great experience.

I just wonder how God intends me to use my newly discovered gift of fingerprinting.

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