Wednesday, November 18, 2009

treading water

When people ask me how I am doing.  I try to give an honest answer.  I know the temptation is to say "fine" or "good".  But honestly it is easy to say those things without really thinking about them.  So I typically try to tell the truth.  However, I've found that people are uncomfortable with raw emotion.  For instance - if I say "not good" or "crappy" I've noticed the body language of the other person tends to tell me that they are looking for a quick exit.  So I try to communicate my emotions of the moment into a word picture.  This week when people have asked me how I'm doing I have responded with "I'm treading water".  When they ask me what that means I say "I'm trying to keep my head above water, but I'm not sure exactly when I'll sink."  It isn't that things are bad, they are just overwhelming.  I am swimming in the water of responsibility.

I supervise a team of four staff, three interns, and a handful of volunteers.  All of whom I try to maintain an intimate connection with.  They need to have a chance to be heard and to know that what they are doing make s a difference.  They need time to vent about situations or to get advice.  They need to be stretched and challenged in their own youth work, they need to know they have someone backing them up in work and in life.  Thats my job.

I am teaching a class on systematic theology at Pacific Life Bible College.  What is systematic theology?  It is an attempt to make sense of a God that is beyond understanding.  It takes biblical ideas, philosophy, history, anthropology, tradition and worldview into a various array of topics concerning the study of God and what difference such beliefs have on our day to day lives.  Leading 16 students through these things in time consuming as I have to research these topics well enough to present them to college students.  Grade their work, read their assignments, interact with their questions, on top of actually presenting the material.

I am a fundraiser.  Each year I have to raise $75,000 in order for Youth Unlimited to pay for my salary, expenses, insurance, employer and employee fees, benefits, pension, etc etc etc.  On top of this, as the area director for Langley I am also in charge of raising funds for the programs, projects, administration costs and events that happen in my area.  I am also the coach for my staff to fundraise for their own salaries and expenses.

I am a leader.  I dont just merely supervise my team.  I lead it.  I am the one that takes the vision God has given me for the area and turns it into practical steps and projects to be initiated.  Right now we have dinners, dessert nights, movie nights, fundraisers, social actions events, a magazine, a book club, bible studies, small groups, and I'm proably forgetting about something. 

I am a team member.  I lead my team, but we are part of a larger family.  Greater Vancouver Youth Unlimited has over 60 staff in the lowermainland.  There are various projects and meetings that I am responsible to attend and take part in throughout the year.  This involves reports, volunteers for various jobs and responsabilies beyond my normal routine.

I am a youth worker. I am available as a consistent presence in the lives of youth as a ear that can listen, a voice they can trust, a adult they can befriend, a spiritual mentor, a trusted advisory.  A friend.

And that is just the WORK side of my life.  I"m also suppose to be:

a husband
a father
a son
a brother
a friend
a community member
a voter
a guest speaker
a teacher
a church attender

Like I said - I'm treading water.  Pray for me please.
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