|Jon will be taking over as Area Director |
as I step into my new role
One evening after putting my kids to bed and tidying the house I finally got a chance to sit. As I did, my vision suddenly turned into an array of bright shapes and colors, as if I was viewing the world through a kaleidoscope. I was able to make my way to bed and fall asleep. The next day everything seemed fine. Losing vision is a scary thing. I have an elderly neighbor I visit often who faces blindness more and more each day. It affects independence, safety and perception. While this incident only lasted a short time for me, his experience was echoing through my mind and I knew I should get things sorted out.
I checked in with my eye doctor. She told me, after an examination, that I’d experienced an ocular migraine. She informed me that unless I took steps to reduce my stress I’d likely have more frequent and severe reactions. My family doctor confirmed this and showed high concern for my health in this season. Stress is a normal part of life and while I work hard at caring for my physical and mental health, it appeared that my normal coping mechanisms were not up to the task.
On the work front, I was dealing with the sudden loss of one of my closest youth which was emotionally shaking. As well, our community had experienced the death of a young man, Carson Crimeni. Our team was connected with both the victim and the perpetrators of this incident. Our loss of some significant funding led to several staff turning in their resignations and, as a result, we had to scale back our projects, programs and partnerships. Even the funding for my own position is still down by $1700 per month. As the team leader this took a large toll on me.
On the personal front, we were facing some significant parenting challenges on top of the normal management of a busy household. I was also helping my mom make arrangements to move off the property she’d lived on for 53 years. This was all while still working through recovery on my knee surgery.
I reached out for help and did some serious soul searching. I found myself unable to see beyond my immediate circumstances which sparked an insight. Losing my eyesight for a couple of hours led me to conclude that I needed to renew the vision for the whole of my life. I stumbled upon this quote by Richard Rohr;
“In the second half of the spiritual life, you are not making choices as much as you are being guided, taught, and led—which leads to “choiceless choices.” These are the things you cannot not do because of what you have become, things you do not need to do because they are just not yours to do, and things you absolutely must do because they are your destiny and your deepest desire. Your driving motives are no longer money, success, or the approval of others. You have found your sacred dance.”
What began was an opportunity to drop the things in my life that were draining and reinvest myself into areas of greatest passion. Talking this over with my boss led to the passing on of management and responsibilities for the day to day operations of the area and I received a promotion to the Community Engagement Coordinator. In this new role, I will be working to assist directors and staff throughout Southern BC on spiritual mentoring, strategic goals and initiating partnership with churches and community agencies in their areas. I am also working part time with Youth Unlimited Canada to bring leadership to conversations on LGBTQ in our organization. My experience working with youth and young adults that self identify on that spectrum, combined with my background in Biblical Studies, gives me some unique viewpoints in this area. This involves travel around the Vancouver region, throughout Canada and even an invitation to speak in Europe this fall.
As I’m navigating this new adventure I am thankful to all of you who have invested in me through the years. Your impact is expanding beyond Langley and has a global impact as I work with youth workers from around the world to bring Jesus into the messy situations that happen in life. I continue to work on my physical and mental heath and I am excited to have some renewed vision for the future.
- Danny Ferguson