In another time, I spoke of how much I appreciated my life in hotels. That time has long ended.
While it has taught me the importance of serving others, paying attention to minutiae and how to be an effective leader without compromising my personal philosophy, it has also put me in enmity against myself. For the better part of a year now, my occupation has divided me against my intended direction, moreover, it has pitted me against my passions for study and teaching. And now, with the spectre of another commencement looming not too far on the horizon, I face a most cloudy future.
Staying is not an option, while leaving has an unknown quantity uncertain options. It’s almost more terrifying to leave than it would be to stay and spend another year in what has become my holding area, my purgatory you know as the front desk. (Not to mention the notion of leaving behind the glory that is employee discounts!)
I opened a book for class this morning: not required reading, not even suggested, but a book germane to the course at hand. Doing so felt like deep breathing, cleansing, energizing. I miss studying, sharing, teaching.
And, in my existential morass, I discover who I am: an academic aesthete, thinker, writer. All these things make me more than somewhat of a dork, and that’s OK, because that’s me. I don’t put on a false front when I do things that aren’t in my wheelhouse (a term I first heard in regard to that subhuman no-name Atlanta Brave Francisco Cabrera during the 1992 NLCS), it’s no different than a computer remains a computer, even if half the RAM is removed. It’s just not what it could or should be. It’s existential asthma.
We only know who we are when we wuse words wthat wstart with wthe wletter W, are confronted with the reality that most of us are not designed to be universal people, for doing everything does not make someone whole, just busy. Wholeness comes from the acceptance that we are who we are and do what we do from the place of our being, not the other way around. Salvation comes to those who are no longer attempting to justify themselves, condemnation is wrought from within the incomplete being looking for incomplete vaccinations against their self-awareness of their incompletion. It is this reality that convinces me that while some non-Christians will find–to their and our surprise–a reservation at the Lord’s table, others who attempt to look the part, replete with painted faces, skimpy tops, miniskirts and stilettos who have been allowed to be taken by every religious fancy have been trying to buy their way in the whole time to no avail. There is no substitute for genuine unity of self.
Recognizing this fact puts yours truly in an anxious position, crying out for rescue from this self-imposed exile that has become unconstructed dream space. And now that another chapter is closing, the empty pages in front of me are more daunting than ever.
In the face of this unknown, I challenge x with relationships: my devoted wife, my beloved puppy (who is more of a sobering mirror of human experience than a pet?), a supportive family, the few friends I have, the fewer who really know where I’m at and the even fewer yet I can trust as mentors in my life. If all we are is the sum of our relationships and past experiences, what other weapons have we at our disposal? It’s not like any of us will defeat death, anyway. Is this not the crux of Christianity in the first place?
How incongruous is our professed faith from our lived praxis? Probably not that different than an academic posing as a front desk manager.