Thursday, June 27, 2013

For such a time as this, again

Change is never easy for me. I've made a lot of progress over the years in taking things in stride. But recently an old pattern has taken hold, and it is taking an amazing amount of my mental effort to keep it from paralyzing me.

Actually, several things are in flux at this midpoint of life (sure, why not think I will live to 108!), but the one I will focus on is one that has been announced.

The old pattern is that I am having big doubts about what first seemed like good news and an answer to prayer.

The change is that, starting Monday, I will work noon to 8 p.m. most days, instead of 3 p.m. to past midnight. This certainly would seem to be an unexpected answer to something I began praying for after I learned how much my husband disliked my late-night hours. I've continued to bring my thoughts back to that reality -- that God hears my prayers -- when my mind starts second-guessing, as it always does.

Two of the first potential negatives I became aware of were that I may no longer be able to attend the Monday morning prayer time at church or my 12-step meeting at noon Wednesdays. And I also know that I've become fairly productive in the use of my time on this schedule. Coming home so late, I don't turn on the TV or start anything when I get home. I just get ready for bed.

I realized fairly early on when I began working the late shift in January 2011 that I gained productivity in my time away from work with that new routine. When I worked days, I tended to come home tired and end up wasting time watching TV. At first, I watched TV in the mornings and afternoon on the late-shift schedule, but eventually gave that up, in one of the best decisions I ever made. It seems I have more energy earlier in the day and am more likely to self-start on things then. By being at my job late at night, I had external, forced motivation to stay productive -- and I also forced myself to shape the day so I wouldn't be too tired to drive home. The result was getting more done. The cost was less attntion to relationships, including the marraige, and social activity outside work.

Pretty soon after I learned about the latest change, I also started to have doubts about some changes in duty with the new schedule. In my 30-plus years at the daily newspaper where I work, I've been a reporter covering a variety of beats, features and general assignments; assistant supervising editor; religion editor; copy editor, headline writer and page designer.

The hardest transition was going from religion editor, which I had considered my dream job, to the copy desk. How could a wordy, slow person such as myself ever sum up a story in the small space of a headline on deadline? But over the years, I became an award-winning headline writer and copy editor. I've excelled working on some of each day's meatiest stories. I was reminded as last Friday's shift continued through 3 a.m. Saturday that, yes, I love being a part of the heart of the newspaper.

One of my fears is that the work of the new shift, with more focus on non-deadline features and community news, won't seem as significant. I spent many years working in community news and features, and I have continued to have some specialized contributions there. I also have respect for its importance. But I'm also aware now that it doesn't seem as important or exciting as the late-night work. I guess it's just a part of the transition process that I am drawn to what I liked about what I'm leaving, and I gravitate to my fears and doubts about where I'm going. I'm pretty sure that's human nature for a lot of us.

As I've faced this with prayer and more prayer, these are phrases that have emerged to provide guidance:

Trust God.

Faith my fears.

For such a time as this.

When one door closes, another opens.

I never in my wildest dreams thought I would not only learn to enjoy but would thrive being a daily news copy editor and headline writer.

When I left the job as religion editor, it was with a sense that I had failed to succeed in my dream job. But even with that cloud, I looked for and found silver linings of hope. "Through prayer and desperation, I began to accept what I had seen as failure as a sign it's time to move on. Rather than feel sad, I can be grateful. ... It's time for the next step of faith ... The best is yet to come!" is what I wrote in my final column more than 10 years ago.

This time, to some degree, it the sense of success rather than failure that makes the transition difficult. I want to stay where I see my value and ability to succeed and make a difference. But I trust God is in charge of my life. He controls all things, and I have such limited knowledge of His greater plans and purposes. So, again, I will say and, with God's help, strive to believe: The best is yet to come.

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt You in due time; casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you." (1 Peter 5:6-7)

"In you, Lord my God,I put my trust. ... Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long." (from Psalm 25)

"... And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:14)

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