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A Little Bit of Remodeling

I know it's been a while since I've posted on here, but I've been remodeling a bit. You might notice I've changed some of the website around, adding some more content to the body, mind, and spirit pages. I've been learning a ton on search engine optimization, so I know it requires a significant overhaul of my website.

For those people who follow me on Insight Timer, you know my life has been remodeling.

When you notice that your house is beginning to fall apart, there comes a time when you have to remodel. You can sometimes forsake your kitchen for a month or so while it gets remodeled, and it comes with a bit of inconvenience.

However, sometimes the whole house needs remodeling. You need to gut an entire floor, so you decide to live in the basement for a while as the world upstairs shifts. It's heartbreaking to see the house with so many memories in total shambles, but you know that it couldn't sustain life the way it used to be. The structures were no longer sound, and the electrical system had needed a total rewiring. So you let the crew take a wrecking ball to the whole place.

God really took a wrecking ball to my life these past few years. Sure, it began almost 10 years with my career in academia when I didn't get promoted to associate professor. That was like remodeling the bathroom. Then my athletic pursuits took a hit when I needed emergency back surgery for a herniated disc. That was like turning the kid's old room into a fitness room.

When I took a significant step down in my academic career when I accepted a visiting position at La Salle, I knew it was like putting duct tape to the leak in the ceiling. I knew that my life needed an overhaul. I desperately wanted a gap year of some sort.

That came in May when La Salle decided to cut its staff. The temporary provost decided it was much more economical to have one visiting professor rather than two. So my colleague and I were given our walking papers at the end of May while La Salle looked for another temporary instructor to fill the specialty courses we taught.

I honestly can't say I was disappointed. I saw it as a relief. Each spring, I would thumb through the missal at Mass to find that week's reading, and I would see the September and October dates. I'd sigh, wondering if I would have a new position by that time. Every fall, my heart would whine and moan as I would start another semester in the classroom. So being forced out was a blessing.

However, I had assumed that someone with more than 20 years in higher education and a Ph.D.--not to mention 10 years in the television news industry--would be welcomed outside of academia. Although I knew I wouldn't step into a management position (as if I wanted one), I was ready to move towards a much more fulfilling career.

Since the beginning of January, I've applied for more than 500 jobs. I've only been offered a freelance job as a health writer at a content marketing company. That's what's currently paying my bills...barely.

My father's dementia has worsened, and he's been in memory care for more than a year now. I've been saying the long goodbye since the fall of 2019. It's heartbreaking to see the man who I looked up to for strength and stability barely able to hold a conversation. His frail body sits in his chair and watches television. It's so unfair that such a remarkable man has to suffer this way.

My mother's bipolar depression has also worsened, and this has been the biggest torment in my life. When a family member doesn't want to get better, the entire family suffers. She continues to blame the world for her problems without doing any work to accept the fact that her husband has dementia.

What's worse is that she can't see her therapist more often. At best, she sees her once every two weeks. My mother just got out of the psychiatric hospital, and she can't see her therapist until mid-December. My brother and I can't bear the brunt of her violent manic episodes, nor can we handle the depths of her melancholic ones. It truly sucks the life out of my brother and I.

Oh, did I mention my beloved dog of 16 years died two weeks before I was laid off? Yeah, that happened, too. And now I'm caring for my mother's puppy because she didn't understand how much work a puppy was.

So you see, my life is in remodel mode. It's like a tornado wiped away the upstairs, so I'm living in the basement.

However, I will say that my faith is still somehow grounded. I rise early every morning, and something deep inside me starts singing glory to God. I lift my eyes to the stars as I walk the dogs, and every once in a while a shooting star reminds me that God is still there.

I don't hear much clarity about the blueprints of what God has planned for me, but I sit in the basement and wait.

I do intend to create more videos, audio meditations, and spiritual writings, but it's very difficult right now when things are so chaotic.

I also see this gift of these past several months as an opportunity to get a little more rest and quiet. I see this time as the sabbatical I've needed for years.

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