I'm gonna share a few thoughts with you today about some things I've been thinking about lately. And it applies to where I'm at in life right now. As you probably know already, I'm living in Vancouver and have been since I got married this past year. But what you may not know is that I've spent most of that time without an official "job". I finished up my school program last year just before we got married, and graduated with my Diploma of Fine Arts. And after we got back from our honeymoon, I had to then begin thinking about what I was actually going to DO with that diploma. As someone who graduated with something that doesn't have an official position that follows, this can be so very, well, confusing! Where could I apply this new found knowledge in an area that was fulfilling and brought home the bacon (well, let's be honest, M is way more likely to bring home bacon. I'd bring home the...steak. yes, steak. mmmm).
You would think that a city so focused on the arts would have a plethora of job opportunities for the newly graduated artist. Wrong. I very quickly discovered that no matter where I applied to, I: a) never heard back about an interview or b) got rejected fairly quickly. It was totally disheartening. And I soon discovered that most people I talked to were in a very similar situation...even more disheartening. So I turned my attention to something I always wanted to do, but never had the time- painting. This was also something I hadn't ever really done without the structure of school projects. After many dark emotional days of not knowing where I was going with my life, I set up a schedule for myself and disciplined myself to work almost every day at something, even if it was little.
I picked up a babysitting job on the side, and I now find myself working hard every day, whether it be illustrating/painting, commissioned projects, blogging, "administration" for both, etc. The only thing is, I am making little to no income for the things I am working hard at. So when people have asked me how the job search was going, I've felt guilty in saying, "Oh, not so well right now...". It totally has been devaluing the work I have been doing, the work that I love! A light bulb went off the other day as I was thinking more about this.
In the church that we go to, we're part of a small group that meets every week. Last week we discussed the concepts of heaven and the purpose of our lives here on earth (stuff that's pretty deep and I won't delve into too much just yet!). We talked about how each thing we do here now is part of a greater picture that carries on into eternity. So in light of this, when I think about the massive eternal picture, I think about the gifts and talents that I've been given and how I am using them. And somehow the work that I am doing, creating beauty and reflecting the image of my Creator, seems far more significant than any work I could do to make more money.
M and I are definitely not starving. We are living fruitful and comfortable lives. And I have these gifts that I am using to create and connect with others through all of that. If I'm not using those gifts, what am I doing? Making money? What is that worth in the end? I am beginning to see the concept of working differently in all of this. I have a great privilege of time and opportunity to use that time well. I really don't want to waste it attempting to find a full-time job that makes more income for us. I'm not saying that I think having a job/career is not valuable, but I would be throwing aside what I see now as an incredible time of growth if I were to keep searching for something bigger or grander. It has been a real struggle to get to this point, especially to put aside the thoughts that I am not doing anything/worth anything if I don't hold a job. But I've finally come to a place where I can feel good about what I am doing and how I am working.
To finish off, a quote I read in Anne of Avonlea spoken by the ever-romantic Anne,
"'I'd like to add some beauty to life' said Anne dreamily. 'I don't exactly want to make people know more...though I know that is the noblest ambition...but I'd love to make them have a pleasanter time because of me...to have some little joy or happy thought that would have never existed if I hadn't been born'".
I hope to add beauty to life and perhaps give someone a little joy or happy thought through the work that I'm doing. I'd also like to hear your thoughts on the subject. Is this something you've struggled with? How do you feel about holding a job that generates large or small amounts of income?