Monday, 28 October 2013

The weekend of... Disenchantment

Disenchantment is, according to wikipediathe cultural rationalization and devaluation of mysticism apparent in modern society.
I can't say that I'm a proponent of this idea, but, I find the term fitting for our weekend, or how I felt during it. 

Malcolm came home late on Friday night and I was extremely happy to see him again. Not only because we'd been apart for a little while, but because I'd had an awful day. I finally went to the doctor to get a medical clearance thing so that I can get health insurance here. Malcolm had his done in SA and had needed blood tests done, so I was expecting that, but it was so different here - even though it was the same form that needed to be completed. The doctor seemed in a hurry, and did no blood tests (probably just as well seeing as they'd be pretty expensive!) but was able to assure the medical aid that I am free of Allergies, Hepatitis, HIV, and all sorts of other things just by having a look at me. Go figure. Then, as I was walking away from the building, relieved that the awkwardness of undressing in front of a doctor and being poked and peeped at was over, I realised he had skipped a section and ticked the box saying that I was not fit to receive coverage. Which means I had to go back to him today. I was so frustrated at the treatment I'd received, not having my needs taken seriously and not having the form completed correctly when we have to pay for the consultation seeing as I don't have coverage yet... and although I don't know how much it will cost, I'd expect to get the attention I pay for. 

Anyway, after wandering around from bus stop to bus stop, Malcolm and I eventually found a bus that would take us home, and it was so nice to be back with him. 

Elizabeth's Kirche, waiting for the bus to come.

He told me about the DAAD seminar he'd been at, and things he'd learned there. (I'll write about that sometime this week!) One of the things he discovered was that we won't be getting as much money as we'd anticipated - I don't know where we read it wrong, but our budget has had some serious cutting. 

That was okay; money isn't the most important thing and we both knew that academia is not all that glamorous. But with Christmas coming up, and warm clothes needing to be bought, it would've been nice to have that extra. (Don't worry, parents, we're not freezing to death and we have money set aside to buy some warm stuff!) The thing is, it suddenly felt like there was this enormous pressure on me to hurry up and find a job. There was so much going on in my mind, and as I lay trying to fall asleep, I felt so disappointed with my life. I know; what right do I have to such self-pity? My parents gave me great opportunities, I was able to study for 5 years debt-free because of them and scholarships, I'm fully qualified as something, I'm living oversees in a picturesque town, happily married and with everything I need. I am aware of that, but that's not was was getting to me. 

It was that, after all this time, I still don't know what I want to be "when I grow up"... and I kind of need to decide some time, right? When I mentioned to somebody on Tuesday night at Bible-study that I'm looking for a job he said "oh? At McDonalds? Or one better: Burger King!". I found this less than amusing, and those silly words he said struck deeper than I think he meant them to. Because, like most people, I want to make something of my life, achieve something, strive for something... and a career is one of the areas to which that applies. And suddenly feeling as though everything was for nothing, sucked. 

I did French at varsity because there was no other language that fitted in my timetable, then when I didn't like psychology, I majored in French and Media. The plan was to pursue media, but in the end I chose French again for honours. I realised after that that there wasn't much I could do with a 4-year degree in French, besides teach, and so in 2012 that's what I did. And all the while, I really got the most fulfillment out of teaching ballet. But, with the constant chorus of "I'm sure they'll need English teachers in Germany", I somehow got it into my head that that was what I would have to be when I get here. Never EVER have I actually wanted to teach English. I'm not saying I won't, and I'm thankful that I did a TEFL course, but it's not really my passion, just an option. 


So here I am, finished studying, in a country where I feel absolutely useless, needing to find a job sooner rather than later, and not knowing what I actually want to do - never having actually decided what I wanted to do. I felt like a character in a Camus novel, trapped in my life and where I am, feeling like a character that makes no decisions but just lets things run their course, wanting to close myself off and live as a recluse. Dramatic, I know. It's amazing what runs through my head late at night. I guess it was a very premature mid-life crisis of some sort. 

Fortunately, the theory of disenchantment has a second part... re-enchantment. The theory suggests that people cannot stand a disenchanted world, and they therefore return to enchantment through various beliefs and ideologies. I choose to return my gaze to Jesus; the light and hope of the world, of my world. I believe that He has a plan for my life and has determined something for me to do here... I believe this not because disenchantment is too unbearable (though it is), but because He has shown me, time and time again, that His Word is true and that He is faithful. 

I fell asleep listening to Malcolm recounting the stories of many, many people of faith in the Bible... Abraham, Moses, David, Mary... and was again inspired by the story of Gideon on Sunday... Gideon who was so weak but who was made strong for what he needed to do. Not in his own strength, but through God's. I do plan too much, I do doubt myself far too often, I do feel like I am unqualified and inferior for many things, but promotion comes from the Lord, He is my strength, I live for His glory, and I am seeking His kingdom first.

So... after an unusually emotional weekend, being given an extra hour on Saturday night (winter-time kicked in), watching many movies cuddled up due to the crazy weather, meeting new people at church, and realising again just how wonderful Malcolm is at encouraging me and reminding me what the truth about myself and life is, I am ready for this week. I'm doing some thinking and praying about what it is that I actually want to do and am called to do. I'll be doing some researching on how to make my dreams happen. And I'll be keeping an eye on jobs that are available. I know one can successfully change careers later on (yeah, you, daddy!), but I really want my days to be full of something that fulfills me. 
Starting with helping at home-work club tomorrow. 

18 comments:

  1. Sorry you're having a bad time at the moment. I always admire people who know from a young age what they want to do and they do it, but for most of us it's the opposite. I'm sure things will work out and you'll find your niche/calling.

    Louisa @ My Family & Abruzzo

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    1. I guess it often looks like others know what they're doing, I'm so relieved I'm not the only one who feels like this!

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  2. Hang in there, Erica! :) I have struggled so much with turning my passions into an actual job, so I totally get where you're coming from. It'll get better. Good for you for keeping your eyes up, on what really matters and not getting dragged down. Nothing is impossible where God's concerned!

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    1. Thanks Shannon... your one blog post about how you dealt with the trailing-spouse thing really helps and makes me feel more positive. Especially since, as you say, nothing is impossible with God, so I'm really looking forward to making the most of what I have and putting my trust in God.

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  3. I'm sorry you didn't have a good weekend. Sometimes things just doesn't work out how you have planned, but trust me, it is all for the best and it is a great learning experience. Good luck and stay strong!
    http://liveitinerantly.com/

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    1. I'm pretty sure when I look back on this time and how things go from here, I'll see how things fall into place. :)

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  4. oh erica, i want to wrap you in a bear hug and eat lots of chocolate and tell you encouraging stories. i'm pretty sure we all experience what you're going through (or at least all my friends) and figuring out what we're suppose to be doing is an ever-evolving process. what happened to wanting to teach ballet?

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    1. Thank you, some chocolate would disappear quite quick! I'm so glad to hear that it's not just me!
      I really really want to teach ballet - right now it seems so unthinkable, but all things are possible with God, and I'm looking at how to make it happen here. Right now though, I'm putting off going to a studio because if I don't ask then nobody can turn me down and shatter my dreams ;) But, it also means nobody can give me the opportunity, so I'll put on my big-girl panties soon ;)

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  5. I'm sorry things were frustrating for you. What a blessing that we have Jesus to turn to!

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    1. Absolutely... Scripture is amazing at lifting my spirits!

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  6. Adulthood does seem to come with a lot of disenchantment. But I am so grateful for faith in Christ, otherwise those thoughts and fears about "Am I really doing what I should be doing with my life?" can be all-too overwhelming. But because of faith, I know that if I continue to seek Him and serve others, my life isn't wasted, and he will give me direction as to what steps to take next (even though I don't always get those directions right when I want them!!)

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    1. I'm realising that.
      I am assured that God knows better than I do, He sees the full picture, and my future is safer in His hands than my own. I guess it's just one foot in front of the other, and at some point I'll look back and go "OH!" as I realise how things have worked out.

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  7. What an emotional rollercoaster of a weekend you had! Hope things start to look up soon! :)

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    1. It was indeed... and thank you!

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  8. You know, I read this post during my lunch hour and have been thinking about you the whole day since. I sooo understand what you are going through! I am and have been dealing with much of the same struggles since moving as a newly wed to the States, I got a job recently and hated it so much. It was just not what I wanted to do with my life at all. I recently resigned with the hope of working really hard towards something I feel is more in line of what my calling in life is, and it's scary. I can tell you this though, if I had not had this recent terrible job I wouldn't have felt so pressed to understand what it is I wanted to do with my life. I had also had the pressure before that job of getting a job here sooner than what I thought, and starting out in a new medium sized town was daunting (I'm a Jo'burg girl), so I totally get that. The right job or opportunity will come at the right time, this is what I'm holding on to too. God just loves it when we're totally dependent on Him and during these times we totally need to be. Don't under value the ability you're clearly showing, that despite this, you have a thankful heart, keep that up. On the other side don't feel guilty if you do find yourself in discontent, that's a great way your heart is showing which way you need to go next.
    Phew, sorry if that was a bit ramble-y, I really just wanted to stop by and say 'hey sister, I feel ya'. x

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    1. So sweet of you - thank you for sharing with me!
      I think I know what I really want to do, and, like you, want to work really hard to make it happen. But it is scary even thinking about it- I think I'm really nervous that I'll be turned down, that it won't work out, it just seems so personal when it's a dream that people can crush ;)
      I didn't know you're from JHB, I can imagine then that things seem limited for you. I sort of feel like all the connections that I made are lost and starting from scratch isn't easy - but it does also have advantages I guess.
      It's so true that God loves it when we're dependent on Him - when we rely on ourselves we limit Him and what His plan is. And I guess it's true what you say about discontent... I feel so guilty about it, but it is a really good indication of what my heart is pulling towards. As long as I remember to be thankful!
      I feel ya too! :) <3

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  9. Catching up on some of your blog posts, I'm so glad you posted this! It is so honest, and it really comforted me to see that I'm not the only person having many of the same thoughts you talked about! I only have a few classes left of college, but it has been nearly impossible to find a decent job...and I've been searching for 6 months. Part of the issue I know is that I'm not really sure what I want to do...and if I were to honestly say what I wanted to do, it wouldn't be located in the United States where my husband currently has a good job. I know I'm to first support him, and God is providing for us here...everything just feels so directionless on my end of things! We've also been hit with some unexpected finances this month, and of course Christmas is coming up, and I will have to start paying student loans in December! Not only is it disheartening, it is starting to be stressful too! Thinking of you, friend, as you also search for a job and where God will have you! I hope we'll both find the direction, encouragement, and opportunities we need to help provide for our families!

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    1. Ah thanks, I'm so glad somebody else gets it! (there seem to be quite a lot of us?!) It is difficult to apply and get excited about jobs when ones heart isn't really in it, but not knowing what to do doesn't help either. And although we're to first support our husbands, we're both blessed to have men who support us too, and you never know, maybe you'll get your chance overseas and it's just a little period of waiting now. Dreams, passions and talents are also from God and He wouldn't give them to us for nothing - just use them as you can now, being faithful with what you have, and things will unravel. :) Excited to see where things go for both of us. For now, it's a testimony of how amazing God's provision is!!!

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