Eight years ago, I really stepped into it. I was ambitious and eager. I wouldn't say I have ever been one of those people who just don't know what they don't know, but I was certainly naive to the brutalities of a sharp learning curve.
I wasn't innately equipped for the task at hand. Managing the program and treatment of sexually maladaptive adolescents challenged me in a lot of different ways, but man, God sure did grow me. I received training and support, and I was completely surrounded by inspiring people. When I reflect on that time, names and faces flash through my mind of kids that were impacted by this incredible team of caring, dedicated professionals that I was blessed to join.
Those flashes of fond memories, they're like bursts of light. And with light, there are shadows; heart-wrenching stories, disappointments, endless worry. And defeat; lots of defeat.
But even still, joy.
So much joy.
God led me to a place of contentment. I could feel I was in the center of His will, and out of total desperation, I relied on Him. Hence, joy.
Now, fast forward through the years; a lot of light and many shadows. A couple thousand miles. Different jobs. New names and faces. Many new experiences with a variety of populations.
I am back to that place of being not-quite-equipped in my career; that place of frequent defeat.
My newest job is a living, breathing thing made of lots of different pieces. Some fit better than others. A Frankenstein's monster, patched together in typical non-profit fashion. And I love it.
Over the years, I had forgotten about those brutalities of a sharp learning curve that I mentioned earlier, and the weight of such a great responsibility.
But man, God sure is growing me.
Once again, I find myself in a place where I'm receiving training and support, and I am completely surrounded by inspiring people. When I am mindful of the here and now, names and faces flash through my mind of kids that are currently being impacted by this incredible team of caring, dedicated professionals.
And there is joy.
So much joy.
I just needed to be reminded of it, and to recommit myself to seeking out that joy daily. To be reliant, to laugh when that's all there is to do, and to pray. And as I recommit myself to those things, I'm also going to try something else that was very beneficial for me eight years ago, and for several years following.
Writing. Sharing. Emoting. Creating.
It may or may not stick, but I'm okay with that. That's part of the process, and so is looking back. And that, despite my 16 months of absence, is exactly why I am not scrapping this space to start another.
Joy isn't a place. It's not a circumstance or series of favorable events. It's not a fresh start or a new beginning.
Joy is a state of being, a mind-frame, a condition of the heart. It's the blessing of reliance and of spiritual surrender. It's found right in the center of God's will.