Transformation can come from surprising sources. I know that in my life, I have often been startled by change and the inspirations that lead to it.
Well, it’s happened again. Much like the transformation of trees and leaves in Autumn, I’ve experienced recent changes for the better from shifts that I would not have expected to achieve positive change.
The first change was being laid-off. Many of you reading this have been part of downsizing or whatever the current euphemism is for no longer having gameful employment, so you know what I’m talking about. It’s a tough moment almost any time.
For me, it happened about a year ago and it was a shockingly painful shift. I had been on this particular job for six and a half years. I had been in this field for decades. The layoff process made it even worse.
So, I began to piece together what I wanted in new employment: more face-to-face work; connections to my local community; and service to humanity. The first job that met this criteria was a position driving a delivery van for Meals On Wheels. Though it meant a huge downshift in salary, it definitely fit my criteria.
So, I took the position and continued to search for other opportunities. Coupled with this, I continued to imagine options for expanding my musical income. Together, these changes led to transformation for the better that is still developing in my life. I’m surprisingly grateful for being laid off.
One of those musical income opportunities also came from a surprising place. In previous times of my life, I had been a minister and a church musician. When those times ended, I was far from being connected with the church. In fact, I had reached a point where I could barely stand to enter a Christian sanctuary at all.
However, when my underemployment began, I reached out to local friends to say that I could be a substitute organist or church musician for the potential income. A nearby congregation reached out to me about an ongoing position playing their pipe organ.
Though I was hesitant, the woman from this church who called me persevered. And I knew that I could always quit if things were not right for me. I played the pipe organ for the first few weeks and things went well.
Then, our grandson (my wife’s by blood and mine by love) fell ill. He was rushed to a hospital with a variety of respiratory issues. My wife went to his bedside and I went to fulfill my position at the church. At their invitation, I shared what was happening with this wee lad with the congregation.
Their response was a significant — and surprising — moment of transformation for me. In spite of my past, this tiny congregation in a New York village has shifted my thinking about the church and my experience of community in my life.
Where have you experienced a surprising transformation in your life? I’d love to hear about it in the comments here or on any of my social media channels.