The One Where I Got a Job
In this comfortingly weird corner of the Internet that I have fashioned for myself, I have always been wary of merely keeping a public journal.
I am more interested in surreal monologues on Scottish tennis players or absurd poetry about baked goods and American political leaders than in pouring out my heart or sharing my day-to-day mundanity for its own sake.
Nonetheless, I have previously espoused the benefit of honesty and sharing stories – stories that are often unfinished and may be painful. Indeed, I have shared my own experience of being in that place. Therefore it would be remiss of me not to share the other side of that particular coin.
Because sometimes amazing stuff happens. Sometimes there are obvious things to praise God for. And if, in the name of realism, I find reasons to be cynical even about these, then I have actually wandered a long way from reality, from that narrow path between cynicism and naïveté that I try to follow.
Anyway. You are probably aware that I recently moved back to Southampton. You may not know that this was somewhat of a leap of faith for me.
I was pretty sure that it was where God wanted me to be. Or rather, I was pretty sure it was where I wanted me to be and that God was down with that plan too. I’m still working out the difference between those two. If indeed there is one.
In some ways, things fell into place nicely. I was going to do Ignite – a course at my church. Plus I had plenty of friends still around and a room in a house in which to live. All I lacked was a job and, by extension, an income to pay for said room and said course (I’ve found the friends mostly pay for themselves).
I don’t know if you have ever agreed to pay someone £340 every month without having a clue where that money is going to come from. It’s terrifying. I wouldn’t recommend it.
Before I moved, I had frantically searched and applied for jobs for two months – to no avail. I had prayed. A lot. And I knew that plenty of people close to me were doing the same.
And yet I arrived in Southampton without much security and certainty, other than the increasingly wobbly belief that it was God’s plan for me to be there.
So I turned up on the first Monday morning of Ignite and one of the first people I met was the inimitable, consistently sandal-clad walking bear hug that is Roger Newton. As we talked, I mentioned that I was looking for work and it turned out that his wife Jacquey works at the University Tempbank and could probably get me some temporary work there.
Amazing, I thought. I had only been back a couple of days and already stuff was starting to happen. I had the beginnings of a plan. Then, towards the end of the day, Gary ‘two-tabs’ Sankey pulled me aside and asked if I could see him and the guys in the office for five minutes.
So I pop in after I’m done and they casually offer me a job at the church coffee shop. Whammy. Could I start the next morning? Hell yes I could!
I was a little overwhelmed. It was as if God had said, ‘You’re worried I can’t get you a job!? I can get you two jobs in one day if I want to – just watch!’
He’s such a show-off.
But there are plenty of voices in my head that have tried to convince me that it’s not a big deal; that people get jobs all the time, it’s nothing to do with God; that it’s just a coincidence; that it doesn’t count ‘cos it’s a job in a church and they knew I needed one.
I’ve decided I’m not listening to those voices though. They are cowards and thieves hiding behind a veneer of smug cynicism. Plus they’re no fun and they don’t get invited to parties.
Sure, it’s not spectacular or earth shattering as a testimony. But I happen to believe in a God who deals equally with the massive and the minuscule, the magic and the mundane. Who made the molecule and the mountain.
Besides, what more did I want? I needed a job. I prayed for a job. I got a job. Let’s not overthink this now. There is a time to rejoice in the simple. And a time to simply rejoice.
And I just thought you might want to join me in a little bit of rejoicing over this one.