I would lay in bed and look up at the inspirational quotes, magazine clippings or photos above me. I guess it was meditation.
One of the first things I put up there was a paper on which I wrote in green and blue: "I don't ever want to be satisfied".
This was not in regards to being thankful, or in being discontent with my life. It was a desire to never be satisfied with stuff; objects never satisfy. It was a desire to never let things or status symbols fill up my life or my identity.
Mostly, it was a desire to never be satisfied with my relationship with God; but to always strive for more.
And the prayer I prayed as a highschooler has followed me into adulthood, and I remain, both blessedly and irritatingly UNSATISFIED.
I began a new job a few weeks ago.
I love what the job does. I work directly with people charged for low-level offenses doing restorative justice and direct accountability programs. It's work with adults, and as I am supervising and completing the assessments, there are little to no bad attitudes I come across. Clients say "thank you" to me daily! People are polite, and although I continue to work with people with mental health problems, it is from a different approach. Working out of an office instead of a residence is wonderful.
However... (and it's a BIG HOWEVER)...
I am so unsatisfied with this job for 2 reasons:
1) There is little for me to do. It's barely a job for 1 person to complete, let alone two as I enter the third week of training where I am actually completing paperwork and doing things. There is a lot of wasted time just sitting around, and I can't stand that.
I guess working in a court house with a job contracted through the government, common sense should have told me it would be diddling my thumbs, but I am too much of an idealist to consider that all those jokes about government positions doing no work could actually be founded in truth.
2) I was shocked by the office atmosphere. I've only worked in one other "office job", I am not used to the office culture, and more than once I have wanted to go home and shower, wash my clothes, to remove any lingering greed and spite from being in that atmosphere.
I never realized how petty people really can be. How much they envy others and live their lives in comparison to those around them.
The gossip, blatant gossip; defamatory conversations and whispers of "you didn't hear it from me" that constantly flowed shocked me. I feel like a naive little girl as the infidelity, betrayal, affairs, excused violence and corruption go on around me in these halls of justice.
I am astounded at the greed, the focus of owning this or that object. For 2 days my co-worker questioned, investigated and mulled over buying a pair of exercise pants from a well-known brand. It was the focus of her day for two days! She asked my opinion, she made a pro-and-con list, she debated to purchase now, or wait.
All along I wanted to scream "I DON'T CARE!!!! I DOESN'T MATTER!" while, somehow, still being polite.
Then, there is the constant flow of people past the office who poke their head in, share some gossip and then wave the new object they bought, brag about their new furniture, discuss the salary of the man and pectoral muscles they have been on one date with, and the possibility of their year-end-bonus and the vehicle to follow. The 50-year-old women who use Tinder like school girls and shatter my belief that we mature with age and look at people's character and personality instead of looks and income.
Again, I want to pull out my hair and tell them that it doesn't matter- none of these ridiculous physical objects matter. A man's salary doesn't prove his character and a car will get destroyed quickly in an accident.
And the idealist in me that wants to see the benefit of restorative justice returns from work frustrated and disheartened with a culture that looks everywhere to satisfaction except the eternal God.
It is a one-month contract, with the possibility of renewal. And I am not sure that I want it to be renewed.
I love Toronto.
This city is amazing. The diversity of people. The whole world is in Toronto!
There are so many opportunities, so many resources, so many amazing projects.
Anything you could ask for, it is here.
This weekend alone there is a free, 3-day Christian event including concerts, the Toronto International Film Festival, and Cirque du Soliel as the major events. There is a ping-pong bar and a board-game cafe, salsa and bachata dance halls for those who want to dance without the night-club atmosphere. 5 indoor climbing gyms, and 2 bouldering gyms. 2 circus gyms to learn how to do ribbons, silks, trapeze and other intense exercise-arts. 2 indoor trampoline parks to jump for hours and hours. A museum dedicated to shoes. A restaurant dedicated to deaf persons, where you order in sign language, and a restaurant completely dark with blind waiters.
The highest amount of concentrated debt is also in Toronto; in the renown Yorkville area where people try to impress their neighbors with their fancy cars, designer clothes and upscale condos. I remember walking in that area and seeing the driver of a Ferrari arguing with a city parking patrol who had written him a ticket. He could "afford" a Ferrari but wanted to argue over a $50 parking ticket.
Last week I met a friend after work at her job in the huge Eaton Center mall and followed her as she returned and exchanged items at various stores throughout the mall. Most of the clothes looked the same from store to store. The advertising was sometimes blatantly discriminatory (one store had only blonde-haired, white models and mannequins), but always manipulating. Malls use similar tactics to casinos to encourage people to buy!buy!buy!.
I left nearly exhausted from the advertising and coercion.
Maybe it all is culture shock. While I love Toronto, I feel a huge abyss between what I value and what my co-workers and neighbors prioritize and this new position working in an office highlighted that for me.
And more and more I feel pulled to a simpler way of life, to something that directly helps people and communities.
Maybe it is because I serve a God who had no where to rest his head, a God who purposely chose poverty instead of wealth, a God who promises that he will clothe me better than the lilies of the field; only I must stop worrying so much about what I wear. My God who says "store up for yourselves treasures in heaven".
I am so unsatisfied.
I am unsatisfied with this shallowness and materialism.
I want more! I want to help more, to do better than I do now. I want deeper relationships and a more influential life and job.
I want so much more.
Maybe I should put it on my ceiling.