Gray matter


The thing about being unemployed and job seeking is that you aren’t quite sure what your mission is every day.  When you are working, your routine and basic function of daily living are dictated to you – my experience, maybe not yours.  For now, I get up every day, make the coffee, sit in the same corner of the couch, try to recall the prayers I’ve been taught to say, wait and listen.  On the weeks I have my kids, I play at being a grown-up and add making my bed to the list.  It makes me feel a little more organized, but mostly it prevents me from climbing back in and numbing out on sleep.  I’m a master at sleeping the blues away.

I’m not Catholic and some days I can’t quite articulate what I believe, but I’ve been saying the Prayer to St. Joseph the Worker every morning for about a week and a half.  It was given to me on a bookmark by a dear woman who I admire greatly and wears giant flamingo earrings.  She ensures me that the right job is out there, but it’s all about timing.  “Why are you holding onto this old blue jean jacket, when there could be a robe of silk out there for you?”  Now, I’m not sure how I feel about all that, but I know that I love this woman and she wants the best for me, so I say the prayer.   

One version goes like this, “God, our Father and Creator, You bestow on us gifts and talents to develop and use in accord with Your will.  Grant to me, through the intercession of St. Joseph the worker, as model and guide, employment and work, that I may, with dignity, provide for those who depend on me for care and support.  Grant me the opportunities to use my energy and my talents and abilities for the good of all, and the glory of Your name.  Amen.”

The picture on the bookmark shows a white male that looks like an older version of what we were taught Jesus looked like in Sunday school.  Standing there with a big yellow circle behind his head denoting a halo.  In his hands, are a carpenter’s square and pick axe.  The picture also depicts a version of little-kid Jesus peering timidly behind Joseph’s leg.  I remember being so shy as a child that I would immediately duck behind my mother’s leg at the first “Hello!” from anyone.  Years later, my daughter would do the same.

Some days, I still look for a leg to hide behind.  If I can just hide behind this grown-up person’s leg long enough, all the scary people, places and things will disappear.  Unfortunately, that’s not how it works, nor truthfully would I want it to. 

I wait and I listen.  I’m not sure how many of you have just sat with something that you don’t have a great deal of control over, but it’s not easy.  I do the next right thing.  I keep submitting resumes.  In the meantime, writing is a great distraction.  I have to be honest, though.  Trudging back through life, jobs, and love is really frightening when you are putting yourself out there.  Some of the threads in my weird tapestry are fragile and knotted up and just plain dysfunctional.  So, I’m asking myself these questions…Is the writing helpful to anyone else?  Are you writing for yourself or others?  Can I trust my memories?  How much of life can I handle putting on a blog?  Then the inevitable self-doubt makes her grand appearance (my “talking Barbies”).  “What do you know about writing?  You haven’t taken the right classes and workshops.  You’re not qualified.  Failure.” 

Maybe all this writing and weaving will free up some space in my head.  I’ve no doubt that I will, at the very least, learn something from stepping back and looking at the overall work.  These moments are just kinks in the yarn.

“We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us even in our soundest sleep.”   – Henry David Thoreau


Gray Matter