Well, I'm back! I don't know why I used an exclamation point, honestly it's more like an "eh, here I am" because, well, I'm hopped up on decongestants and weary from wrestling toddlers while under the weather. Whew. But hey, here I am. I revived from my post-Thanksgiving-turkey-coma just long enough to catch a cold, but I'll be darned if I let one more day slip by without getting a word in edgewise on this blog! (I am a stubborn one, aren't I?)
I come bearing news. Perhaps you've seen the update pop up on my personal Facebook status or Twitter, but if you haven't, then here it is: I'm employed. Ha! (What, were you hoping for something more monumental?)
Yes indeed, I've joined the work force once more and extended my ever-changing resume to include yet another mall job. I've accepted a position at the local mall to work at Williams-Sonoma as holiday seasonal help. It's part-time and absolutely temporary, but, it still requires me to show up somewhere on time with a smile, punch a time card, and fill out one of those horrible W-4's that make you feel like an idiot every time you see them (Put 1 for dependents on the what and add up the who now?)
I'm a holiday mall rat, it's true! Josh and I had a good chat a few months ago as we looked ahead to the holiday season and figured it would be in our best interest to tuck away some extra cash if possible. If nothing else, we can at least not go into any additional debt this Christmas, barring I don't give in to blowing my paycheck on Calphalon and Le Creuset (which is harder than it sounds, let me tell you!)
I've only been to work a few times so far, but it's going well. Luckily they only call in the "B team" when it gets extra hairy and their more competent crew can't carry the full (chaotic) load. But, it's been great thus far and I'm so thankful to take on a new challenge in such a lovely setting. It sort of feels like working in Mrs. Claus' own personal Christmas pantry, or that's partly how I like to think of it anyway.
Truth be told, this is the 32nd job of my life (if you count stay-at-home-mom as a job - which you should and if you don't, you really have no business reading any further) - and so, I honestly went into this whole idea of working part-time with the utmost confidence and enthusiasm. It's the first time in my life I've had the luxury of choosing to work and knowing it was for a very short amount of time, all of which has given me new insight into myself, my schedule, my ideals, and goals. It also is a great reminder of what is happening in the world outside of my little bubble, namely, my little Christian-mom bubble.
Williams-Sonoma is a beautiful, luxurious place to work, no doubt. I can't pronounce nor afford over half of the items available for purchase, and I count it a privilege to even be thought of as "one" among the clientele who enters. You know what I mean, it's just one of those "shmancy" places that you hope is holding a good sale, or you go into because you see someone handing out samples...it's not a place you go to blow chump change. That is, it's not a place I've ever gone to actually spend a wad of cash. I love it, I adore it, but I simply can't afford it! And, if we are all being honest here, it's just sort of pretentious...and that's exactly what we love about it.
All this to say, I entirely admit that I pretty much figured I'd be encountering some snobs when it came to selling kitchenware that costs as much as my rent. This excited me! It had been a long time since I'd worked with a crowd like this (yes, I have a bit of a retail resume history). And, to be honest, it's a huge weakness of mine to find compassion and empathy for those that are overprivileged than myself.
You know, the overprivileged. Yeah, you don't hear much about them this time of year. Maybe you see them on commercials and envy them or drive by car dealerships and wonder just who does get a Lexus with a giant red bow on it for Christmas (I always wonder this)? In fact, this is the time of year when we especially take time out to remember the impoverished, the poor, and the underprivileged. But, I'm here to tell you my friends - while we middle-classers may have blinders to them, we are full well living among the plentiful. Oh yes, oh yes we are.
Sometimes I feel like it is easier to reach out to the needy than the rich. There is a fine line between my feelings of jealousy and my feelings of resentment towards those that are seemingly more "successful" than me. They make me feel insecure. They make me feel uncool. They make me feel like they must have done something better than I to deserve the belongings they have. They make me feel like I need Jesus more than they do. That's some pretty sick stuff, right?
When I reach out to those who have less than I do, I never feel that way! In fact, I feel fabulous. When I hand a homeless girl a few bucks, or take a name off the Angel Tree at church, or buy someone's coffee in the Starbucks drive-thru line behind me (okay, maybe they weren't that underprivileged) but, still, I get a feeling of heroic enthusiasm bursting in my heart. Hooray! Score one for humanity and goodwill! I feel like a parade should be held in my honor because I graciously bestowed my overflow among the begging. Wow. That's some harsh reality there.
If I am among openly broken people, it's fairly easy to become transparent and shed the outward skin of security and show my redemption for what it truly is: a gift. But, it's a lot harder to be confident in my broken need for Jesus when I'm among people who can seemingly not look like they are lacking. When I get around successful, beautiful, intelligent, wealthy people (no matter the time or place) it becomes more and more difficult to act like I don't deserve the life I've been given - the blessed, redeemed, totally sanctified life that I'm usually so eager to share.
I'm just being honest here. I'm just asking you to stop and look around you this holiday season. I'm just wanting to encourage you, as you roam the malls and stores and sales that are attacking you with ever possible angle (guilt, insecurity, bargain, glitter, what-have-you) that you need such-n-such before you are complete or that you have-to-have such-n-such to give to someone else or you aren't worth it, etc. to please consider what's really of value here. Yes, consider the impoverished, of course (no duh, right?) But, when's the last time you considered the snobs? Hmm.
This is why it has become a little bit thrilling for me to go to work in the epicenter of holiday madness - THE MALL. Commercialism and pretentious snobbery at its best. You can feel the electricity of the sliding charge cards in the air. Yikes. They all need Jesus just like I do, just like you do, just like the broken soul on the corner with the cardboard sign. They need honesty. They need prayers. They need exposure to transparent hearts who give all the glory to Jesus.
It's a goal of mine to try and remain rooted in my identity in Christ regardless of my surroundings. When things look lovely, I'm just as in-need. When things are dire, I'm just as un-deserving. When things are confusing, I'm just as saved-by-grace.
The holidays can be an emotional time for many. A lot of times we see a movie on TV or hear a sermon that can reference a troubled soul falling to their knees in recognition and in awe of their Savior. All I'm saying is, let's not limit our scope of who is considered "needy". That lady who just bought a leather coat for her teenager or spent a rent's-worth-of-cash on a pair of earrings for a Christmas party might be in the perfectly-vulnerable place to ask you about why you are so cheerful about the holidays. And, you might want to have an answer ready.
The world around us, even the privileged, holiday, glamorous, commercialized world we witness daily right now, is a mission field waiting for our genuine and compassionate touch. The touch only a true Savior could offer through us. The touch that each believer has the capacity to delicately give. This Christmas season, as you're looking to give to a worthy cause (and I urge you to do so!) don't overlook your own surroundings.
It's a mission field out there, folks. Don't let the tinsel fool you.