November is the month in which we are most cognizant of our need to be thankful. This week marked the one-year anniversary of a series of tragic deaths experienced by my Louisville church family, as I have written about repeatedly over the past few months. A year ago Wednesday I was helping decorate the church sanctuary for Christmas when we heard news that Jackson and Barbara Boyett died in a car crash in Texas, a year ago Friday I was in my room surfing the net after work when I was informed that Stacy Ellison died, and a year ago this coming Tuesday I had just gotten back from Stacy's funeral when I got the call that Lester Jones (a dear old man who served our church for decades) finally passed away after years of declining health. That was a terrible seven days. When grieving and suffering loss of friends and family, it can be difficult to convince oneself that thankfulness is an appropriate and realistic response. Nevertheless, I am thankful to God for many things that have come about in my own life over the course of the past year.
First of all, I am thankful for employment that has allowed me to strengthen my financial situation but also permits me the freedom to make short trips back home to see my family. Last December, the seminary's archives department had a job opening and my co-workers recommended I apply for the full-time, salaried position. I was reluctant to do so for a number of reasons, but I eventually decided to apply, interview, and finally accept the job offer effective January 9, 2012. It's been a great experience, even if it has contributed to delays in progress of my dissertation due to time commitments. However, the job has also taught me a great deal regarding archival and library skills that have proven valuable in my study efficiency, so it all probably evens out.
My biggest concern with taking a full-time job was that the responsibility would allow me less time to go back to Tennessee and spend time with family, especially my Granny, who had been bed-ridden for about 2 years and needed constant care. I wanted to be available in case I was ever called upon to attend to my grandparents on a more frequent basis. Granny died in late July, but I was able to spend a few more important days with her before that happened, and I got the week off from work to attend and preach her funeral.
I don't know if I'll stay in library-related employment long-term, as I do have other vocational aspirations, but I certainly am thankful that I am working the job that I have right now.
More to come on this theme later today...