The month after Bill died, I was sitting on the floor of the family room, looking through college brochures. We had already planned that I would return to school, so this wasn’t an escape from grief. It was, however, a welcome respite.
So when Cheri, my youngest step-daughter, called and asked “So what’s going on?” I said, “Well, I’m trying to figure out how to tell you and everyone else that I’m going back to school… How about you?” Yeah, I thought I had set the tone and topic for our conversation.
“I’m just trying to figure out how to tell you that you’re going to be a grandmother.”
Oh, good golly, Miss Molly!
Taao was born in January. Ana and I raced down to visit the family just as soon as we could and, jeepers creepers, I was over the moon.
It was in the days before cell phones and long distance calls were charged by the precious minute. But caution and many dollars were thrown to the wind as I called absolutely everybody I could think of. I’m sure a few weren’t even sure that they’d ever met or heard of Cheri.
So it goes for the Meena (my grandma name) of the first grandchild.
My last call was to a long-time friend who lived far away who knew very little of Cheri or anyone else in the family for that matter. A man that I knew from high-school and with whom I had just recently reconnected.
Still breathless from the excitement, I gave him the whole schpiel. What happened, who Cheri was, where they lived, when I saw Taao the first time, how he was the cutest of all.
I stopped short.
After all the excitement and news, after the trips and holding him the very first time, after the announcements were designed and the new and newly-washed tiny clothes all neat in the dresser, I realized I didn’t know what my job was.
I didn’t live all that close and there was a lot of family that lived in their area. I was going to school so my “time off” was limited and restricted by a school schedule. And I was the step-grandma for the first time.
I asked Stephen, “Wait, what is my job?”
He thought for a moment and said, “Your job is to have homemade cookies in the jar sitting on the counter. All the time.”
A sigh of relief. Whew. I had a job that was well-defined with a specific goal.
But, my friends and lovelies, when I asked, “What’s my job?” I wasn’t wondering who would hire me or which classes should I take. I wasn’t looking for the will of God or making tough decisions about life choices.
I was really asking In this small and rather ordinary situation, how do I fit in?
I wanted to know – I always want to know – how I fit in. What is my role in the room or gathering? Who is in charge, who do I have to get next to? What will people think of me if I do the wrong thing?
What is my job?
Am I needed? Am I important enough to even have a position?
Because the alternative to having a job is floating aimlessly without purpose or direction. I guess some people do this well. They have what it takes to float in, around, and about without being tethered to a goal.
But for as long as I remember, I’ve wanted to find my job, my place, my connection.
I wish I could stop doing that. Searching for that specific job, that right place, that important connection. And deep down where it counts, I know the truth.
Loving Jesus and loving people is my job.
Abiding in Him, learning at His feet is my place.
Talking with Him is my connection.
Truly, deeply I know this. Why it seems so necessary to have worldly answers to these questions, I can’t say.
But I do hope that someday soon I will walk into an unknown place all by myself and remember I already have a job, a place, and a connection.
I’m asking God for one thing, only one thing:
To live with Him in His house my whole life long.
I’ll contemplate His beauty; I’ll study at His feet.
That’s the only quiet, secure place in a noisy world,
The perfect getaway, far from the buzz of traffic. Psalm 27:4-5 (Msg)