Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Daily Toil for an Ultimate judgment?

I am now certain that I hate my job. After two weeks straight of the jackhammer, my hands felt like they had been injected with novocain, and I don't know how they managed to continue dangling from my body after my arms were long gone. Let's look on the bright side now though shall we? There is only 6 days left of the work, and I'm recovering. Today was a new plateau: I was freed from the jackhammer!!

Sorting out work issues
The other day I was really ticked off at Boss D, because I had gotten a call offering me another job that was actually in my field, not some hilarious mockery of my labor power, but a job, yes, in integrated marketing, (No, not advertising. I'm trying to steer myself towards PR, which is the other half of marketing, and much different) and he said I couldn't have Monday off to go to the training session. Unthinkable. Boss D is a workaholic who would never imagine "wasting" a days wages to participate in an interview that could translate into a job I'm actually interested doing for something other than the $$$, so him denying me was just enough to make me simmer a bit more. I was getting sick of everything, sick D's same old jokes, sick of wearing a hard-hat when my neck is already deforming under the weight of my head alone, and just sick it all, so I patiently resigned myself to just forget it. Obviously he's stressed about losing some of the crew this week already (Schotter) and so if I were to leave for one single day, the situation would look like a freeforall to him.

But anyway, it turns out that since I'm going back to school soon to finish my PR diploma, I've been referred to another agent after playing quite an extended game of phone tag with the first one. This one is working on getting me a job right on campus! Tony the tiger says: grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreat!! Now I just have to hold on for a bit longer before I move out of this town, start school, hopefully start a new job, meet new people, and start fresh, but I don't know how easily I can completely sever all my current ties, or whether I really want to.

How the Weekend Affected my Mental Space
The weekend was busy. I jogged on Friday and went out with the boys, coalesced with prostitutes and thieves, got my fill of debauchery and poker. The moon was red again on Saturday, and I had this feeling of evil inside me, like something was a little off. On Sunday I was reflective and down, so I went to church with DW, which was an experience I haven't had for quite awhile. I very much enjoyed it for the singing, the sermon, and the reflection. Usually the bar is my place of worship on Sundays, and I usually play open mic, but wouldn't you know it? The one day that I'm in church and NOT at open mic, Hawkesley Workman, whose very song I was contemplating covering that night, shows up and jams with all my friends except me. He's a Pokeroo if you ask me. But I know you were here Hawkesley, watch out. Being with God was good too, but too bad they both didn't coordinate a little more.

Did you Say Sir Barrett was in Church?
So anyway, the whole sermon on Sunday about Amnon and Absalom (Samuel 2:13) and about God's chastisement of David, through his children via Amnon raping his half sister Tamar, then Absalom's exile as a result of him murdering Amnon for raping and ruining Tamar's life, as the result of David's mischievousness in having an affair with Bathsheeba, and his inability to deny his sons of their desires, regardless of his responsibility as a father and a king, which makes him feel a lot of grief, put me in a crazy mental space. I liked the literal ambiguity that I've never really taken notice of before in the bible: David grieves for his son, but which one? On the one hand, he has reason to feel bad that Amnon has been murdered, on the other, because Absalom is in exile for doing it, on the one, sadness because Amnon failed him as an heir to the throne, on the other anger because he did not teach him to be a proper King, on the one righteousness because Absalom did something to stand up for Tamar, who was raped, on the other self-pity and disgust, because he was one who naively handed her over (his own daughter!) to her rapist (his own son!).

This whole story is confusing and layered, but it made me realize and think about how it is common to empathize with two sides of a battle at different times. We are at times ignorant and justified only because we do not have knowledge enough to do the right thing ourselves. At other times, we think we know everything, and are quick to judge and take things into our own hands, but it is only God who really knows and rations out blessings and wretchedness. We play God. But to feel the power of grace, you must experience wretchedness. On the one hand you have the path to sin and self-indulgence. Amnon loved his half-sister, dwelled on it, then he raped her and grew disgusted with her. Then you have Absalom who was angry and had his men kill Amnon for doing it. That is thugish.

Which one of the two brothers is nobler? It is easy to say Absalom: because rapists deserve to die. But this is the tragedy of the story -Absalom had nothing to do with it really except that he loved his sister and hated that his brother ruined her fortune. All of the misfortune came from David, and was seconded on his children. David drove Absalom away from him, because as King, he was like the sole proprietor of justice (next to God) but he neglected his family, and made them destroy and drive each other away. If that's a microcosm for society, he's doing bad civil management. Poor sinning David.

The moral of the story, as far as I can tell, is that it is never right to sin, but that grace is for sinners as sinners. You should do everything you can to prevent sin before it grows, but if you can't, you must rehabilitate sinners.

It was very fitting that the service ended with "Amazing Grace"

So Why did we get this Hob-Schobb Bible Lesson?
My reason for telling this story is because then, come Monday morning, my mind is tripping. I went from wild Friday night to Sunday night, when I ended up being invited to the pastor's house to drink coffee and play with his lovely though eerily well-behaved and cornicopious children, while discussing such issues as whether life really matters at all after death. I'm still thinking about it up on that swing-stage, and what I have done to deserve God's chastisement (which is the jackhammer). I don't think of God as a punishing malevolent force, but a good God. Still, I think God works in mysterious ways and could teach me a thing or two if I didn't know how to predict him straight away, and there seems to be truth in the form of poetic expression to the idea that in this life we pay for things that we neglect or take advantage of or waste. Those things could include: me neglecting to find a better job this summer, me not taking lots of prozac and trying to enjoy jackhammering as much as possible, me not taking steroids and becoming a monster fit for jackhammering, me not being decisive enough in choosing my temporary profession, the list goes on. I can blame myself or others for the things that I do in this life, but God is the one that knows the details.

Ministry Put into Action
Nate has commented before that jack-hammering is a job that seems like it would be a proper reform for rapists and murderers. Is that the kind of crime I'm performing divine retribution for?

Now that it is mid-week, I don't really know and I don't really care. I'm off to an art show just this moment, which is why this post might be a tad disorganized. I apologize, but I wanted to stay in touch, and I thought I might as well do it now while my server isn't crashing like it has been lately. It seems when things are busy and you're excited about the moment, the big questions don't matter. When you think about the big questions, all the details seem irrelevant. Both extremes seem essential though. So I think it's a balance. Don't get too caught up in thinking about the universal doom, nor the particular pleasure, but combine and synchronize both. I'm not saying it's easy, but this is something I'm going to continue to try.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

church? really? i find that if i go now and then it gives me some peace of mind.....that picture is BEAUTIFUL! just gorgeous! I so want to be there. my friend used a jackhammer too and had the same hatred....well it's over now and onto new things....fall is near my well. ;)

6:17 p.m.  
Blogger sirbarrett said...

Yes, church usually has the soothing effect on me, and singing hymns is joyful, but I suppose it forced me to think of things that I need to improve, with God as my witness.

4 days left of work now. I'm think I'm actually going to get sentimental now. There were really good things too, but not the jackhammer. Now it's all lazy work and free lunches until the end.

I didn't actually take this picture. I wanted something beautiful so I shamefully stole it from my friend PJ's site. I assume he took it in Switzerland.

Fall is upon us yes, with a cool tingliness that teases me lightly.

6:28 p.m.  
Blogger Lorena said...

this was a very reflective post. i haven't been to church in many years. i can see how it can be soothing. i always looked forward to the homily (catholic) because it was full of inspiration. otherwise, the rest of the ceremony was very routine. anyhow, i wish you luck in school and i hope the changes do your spirit good.

12:22 p.m.  
Blogger sirbarrett said...

Lorena: Thx for the sweet wishes. I hope the change is what Sheryl Crow's idea of them is. ("I think a change, change, will do you good") I'm not sure what the homily is, but I always like the doxology in our protestant churches: "praise God from whom all blessings flow, praise Him all creatures here below, praise Him all ye heavenly hosts, praise father, son, and holy ghost, Amen"

2:50 p.m.  
Blogger joe said...

church? well, depends on the church i guess. balance is the key, i totally agree. there is nothing noble, devine or good about either extremes. you need to know all of it, live all of it, experience all of it to be a whole person. that means you need to find the balance for all of your experience.

now it would be easier if you could mediate. I know I can't. I don't get it. I just sit there and then get hungry or fall asleep. i can't stop my mind from thinking and thinking and just wondering about the world. balance and meditating. that's what I need.

er, that could be what you need to. definitely not the jackhammer.

11:04 p.m.  

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