Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A resume

A couple of weeks ago I had an informal interview for a writing consulting job.  Afterwards, she emailed me and asked two things: to come back and talk with her supervisor; and to provide a resume, which practically sent me to the hospital in a fit of nerves.  A resume.  You know, one of those things where you list all the jobs you've had which qualify you for the job you're trying to get.  And, of course, all the education to back up those jobs.  I emailed back and said I'd be happy to meet with her supervisor, and would have my resume with me at this meeting.  Then I went back to my ordinary, frantically complicated life and tried not to think about how I'd manage to produce such a resume out of the scraps and threads of jobs I've actually done, especially in the last decade.

I am not, by nature, a procrastinator. In college, when I was going to two schools for the price of four (the quip I always use), I didn't have time to procrastinate.  I often took so many classes that I had to make a very precise study schedule just to make sure everything got done every week ( 24 credits a quarter--or 12 per institution in order to get fulltime tuition rates).  A couple of quarters, I actually had two classes at the same time at the different colleges, and had to juggle which to go to on a given day.  Fortunately, I had friends in each class, so could borrow notes, and also VERY fortunate, didn't have tests the same day in those classes (can't imagine how I'd have managed that!). But I learned to do assignments as soon as I got them because something else was sure to come along. And it's served me well, but also gets me a little cranky when I watch my kids, or Beve, put off tasks they could do so much more efficiently earlier! 

But this dang resume was sure to have holes in it.  Large chunks of "what have you been doing with yourself all these years?" holes, and I didn't want to face that.  So I put it off.  And put it off.  And put it off.  Until yesterday, when this meeting was staring me in the face--scheduled for early this morning--and I knew there was nothing to do but dive in.  So I started plugging things in.  Bits and pieces, odds writing jobs I've done, other consulting jobs I've taken over the years (often for little or no pay, but who's to know?).  I created a resume, strange as that sounds, even to me.

And I took that resume to my meeting this morning.  And you know what?  Those women said, "You've been working with students and their writing for the last twenty-five years."  Hmmm, I guess I have.  What do you know?  I have.  There's a career there, cobbled with bits of this consulting and that teaching, this one-on-one time with college-entrance essays, and those culminating project papers.   On paper, I actually look like I am what they're hiring me to be: a writing consultant.  It doesn't feel like it from the inside, but there it is. Everything I've done adds up to more than it feels like I am.

But here's the other truth.  I know who I am.  I know that though that resume is completely factual, absolutely true, it's also not really who I am.  I am not really a writing consultant.  I can do that, am capable of handling the tasks of such a job.  But who I am and what I can do are two different things.  I think we get really caught up in labels.  We like to be able to identify ourselves as something.  "I'm an engineer," we say. "I'm a nurse."  I'm a teacher, a lawyer, a farmer, an admissions advisor, a mechanic. I'm a pastor. But I wonder how many of these occupations actually are what we are, rather than what we do. I think perhaps being a farmer is what a person is--all the way from birth until death. Being a musician is like this as well.  But I'm pretty sure this isn't true about most things. 

So this whole business has made me start to think about what kind of things I'd put on a resume if I was looking at my life through Kingdom-eyes. 
Education?  Walking with Jesus for 39 years. 
Work Experience?  Loving Christ--yes, Lord. Desiring to follow Him.  Prayer warrior--in my best seasons.  Heart for the lost--mostly, when I'm right with Christ. Ready with the gospel of truth in season and out?  Well, in season, anyway.  Walking in a manner worthy of the gospel? Lord, You be the judge.  I pray so, though, I pray so.
References? Jesus Christ, Son of God, Lord and Savior.

Hmmm.  I have a long ways to go.  A very long ways to go.
But Lord, here I am, use me.

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