As a parent have you ever had sinking feelings? Is it only other single parents who can relate to this feeling? It’s that sinking feeling when your kids tell you something…and you know you are powerless to change things.
Part three of three – The mask of silence…
Some silences speak so loudly that silent shouting
pierces personal perspective and paradigms.
(for those reading this for the first time you may like to read the precursor, part one and part two…and for those seeking to balance perspective of how circumstances can change ones drive you can check out “I have a problem”
- I lament that I talk about setting the captives free…yet wrestle within my own sense of captivity; recognizing that my marital status (as a divorcee) continues to be problematic, in some unavoidable quarters…and I find myself losing my own sense of freedom the longer and deeper I am drawn into a world in which I feel further disconnected and disengaged from;
- I lament that I talk about addressing injustice…yet find myself a recipient of unjust processes;
- I lament that I talk about people finding their voice for the voiceless…yet increasingly feel my own voice is not heard; and I’m tired of always being the one who keeps banging the drum, standing on my soapbox (as I’ve had it described) and knowing I’m only giving myself a headache;
- I’m tired of people with small minds, small hearts and small visions negatively influencing my own sense of optimism, hope and joy;
- I’m tired of people who are more concerned with legalism and being right than they are about outcome and the importance of building relationship;
- I’m tired of airing concerns with those above me, but finding they fall on deaf ears, and realizing (once again) that if I don’t look after myself, no-one else will…and I lament (once again) that within a Christian agency, staff are far too frequently viewed as a commodity;
- “Never worry about what I’m doing. Only worry about why you’re worried about what I’m doing.”…how true, how apt…I’m tired of worrying about others worrying, like seriously, don’t you have more important things to do?
- I’m tired of seeking God, and not finding…I’m tired of putting on the mask to present and represent and finding myself tired, bored, disconnected; grappling with my own authenticity and integrity as a speaker who’s lost confidence in those around him, and dare I admit it, perhaps even in the God I believe in…[note significant edit at this point]
- I cannot work like that. I will not work like that.
- And so before I become completely calloused about the injustice and inconsistencies, the ineptitude and fallacy of valuing staff [note significant edit at this point]
- I do not feel valued, feel supported, feel stimulated, feel empowered, feel resourced; and so I’m wondering if before I burnout, I need to bail out…
In hindsight I find it ironic what I wrote in April, something that had crystallised over many months of prayerful and robust reflection. When I finished after 4.5 yrs in a public role I didn’t get a single thanks, farewell, zero recognition or expression of appreciation from those I worked for…thankfully quite a different story indeed from those I worked with…
Reward and recognition is a strange thing. I’ve always found that mowing lawns is a simple example of something that provides an instant reward-for-performance; for me it’s the sense of accomplishment, it’s evidence of effort and the appearance of completion (at least for a week in an Australian Spring)…but to walk away from 4.5 yrs with nothing, no card, no call, no text or email – just silence, that hurt.
Some silences speak so loudly that silent shouting pierces personal perspective and paradigms, and so yes it reflected profoundly the issues I’d personally grappled with but came to a conclusive silent sigh, calming my spirit to know I gave all I could…but not so much that I lost my soul.
What lies beneath the surface and behind the mask?
Life is always about tensions and only others who have had similar roles perhaps truly understand the challenge and tension of being a speaker. I quote a friend of mine who succinctly described this with me one day:
“it seems that although you have constant face to face (which you are brilliant at) you lack side to side colleagues, and cos you are so comfortable and competent at the upfront stuff, people don’t realise how isolating it can feel, you plant seeds along every road, but you don’t get back along the same roads again to see whats grown”
For over 10 years I worked as a travelling speaker and had some fabulous highlights and incredibly meaningful moments. The truth is that in life we need others to share in those moments to make life truly meaningful. Continue reading
The following is part one of a three-part blog taken as an extract from some of my personal journal (with some discretionary editing) written in April this year.
Before you read on, ask yourself, what are the question/s that if I give them space delve into the deeper part of who I am? Some of the questions over this 3-part series reflect some of the questions I found myself asking…
I’m tired of the mask…am I beyond it all?
I found myself sitting at a conference, one of over 400 attendees. Some were there voluntarily, choosing to pay money, others of us were there because it was part of our job. All were there because in some small or large way we see that the world is stuffed and want to contribute in a meaningful way to making it a better place.
As I sat in my cocoon, alone with my thoughts, as I allowed the words, movement and interactions of those around me to dance about me like a child freely and without a care in the world I realized something profound; something that has been crystalising in my heart, in my head and in my choices over the past few months.
- I’m tired of being the one who gets up to encourage others…yet find myself discouraged; and whilst I look for encouragement from those above and about me, I get little to none in return;
- I’m tired of being someone who gets up to challenge and stimulate others…yet find myself lacking stimulation that motivates me to keep at it;
- I thrive on a challenge, I rise to a challenge – it’s one of the things I love about coaching basketball…every sense, skill, thought and attention focused in the moment looking for a way forward, to get the best out of individuals and of those who make up the team, yet I realise part of my tiredness is a lost sense of team and of personal challenge;
- I’m tired of being someone who gets up to inspire…yet find myself repeatedly uninspired;
- I’m tired of others assuming their priorities should be my priorities and that their urgencies must be mine…
I hope that in sharing some of my vulnerability around the values and priorities I’ve been grappling with that you, as a reader, may find space to reflect, to question, or perhaps even to find some solace or support.
Understanding the things that energise, enthuse and encourage us is key to maintaining intrinsic motivation and connectedness with our own sense of meaning and fulfilment in life. To draw on ancient wisdom from Socrates:
“An unexamined life is not worth living.”
When and how do you go about examining your life, your values and your own sense of meaning?