Friday, April 5, 2013

I will go, if you lead me

OK, fair warning: this is probably the most theological I will be on this blog. I don't want to frighten you away, nor do I want you to think I have delusions of grandeur here, but ... well, here we go.

When I was a child, my parents explained to me that their vocation was a calling. As a result, a small blonde girl could frequently be found kneeling in her father's church, listening quietly (as though to radio static), half-heartedly hoping not to hear the voice of God calling her to the ministry.

So I am back at Main Library (or the tower beside it, like some latter-day bibliographic Rapunzel) starting Monday as the (round 3 with this team!) Acting Manager of Diversity and Accessibility Services for six months. And the normally reserved Alex is willing to admit here, dear readers, that she is a bit of a mess.

I am so totally excited and happy to be with the DAS and SWSI teams again (oh libraries, you have too many acronyms! DAS - see above, my department. SWSI - System-Wide Services and Innovation, our division). I love these people (and I mean staff and customers): they are committed, creative, passionate, collaborative, supportive, interesting people.

But I spent my entire afternoon today packing boxes (that would be corporate "move" #10 - if you count Rideau renos - and I am also on personal move -lucky?- #13 whenever we leave rue Bruyère). Needless to say, if we total that out I am on move #23 and the sound of packing tape makes me want to get into the fetal position (or go home to a glass of wine and some smokehouse almonds. Your call).

Today, I have had two songs running through my head (yoked by violence - sorry, Sam - together...): "Go on," by Basia Bulat (because maybe I "couldn't stand to lose" my lovely team at Carlingwood, however temporarily) and Here I Am, Lord, composed by Dan Schutte. That arrangement isn't my fav, by the way, just the least offensive I could find on YouTube on short notice (why do the right-wing evangelicals record all these videos? Why can't Sarah McLachlan cover more than just the Prayer of St. Francis? Honestly!). To truly feel what I'm feeling, you need to be singing this hymn in the snug chapel of Dio (nearly impossible) accompanied by the spectacular singing voices of both of my parents (50% absolutely impossible) and Davina on guitar (impossible ... debatably?).

Don't worry (and don't click away from this post!). I am still your favourite (very) lapsed Anglican. I'm not going to go all born-again on you. I just can't help that in moments of strong emotion, I cannot deny (three times, or less) my heritage.

"Here I am, Lord. It is I Lord.
I have heard you calling in the night.
I will go, Lord, where you lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart."

I am not saying that I feel called to my current role, or any other role I have had. I am not saying that that I believe it is entirely a divine hand at work as I make my way along this personal and professional path. I am not saying it is entirely fate, either, or karma, or Lord Shiva, god of destruction (who lives on my bookshelf, by the way. He's my favourite) or .... whatever or whoever you want to call it. And I will not take the cop-out attitude that Sheryl Sandberg is right to call women on (although I have other issues with some of her logic) that it is not because of my own talents, skills, or agency either. All of these factors have played a role (although Lord Shiva has been lighting a few too many fires for my liking recently).

I believe I am doing the right thing for me right now. It wasn't what I expected to be doing in 2013, but I am so pleased. I am grateful for my years at Rideau Branch and Westmount Library, where pieces of my heart will always beat steadily. I am glad I got to briefly experience life at Cote-St Luc, St Laurent, Vanier and Rockcliffe Park. I was transformed, and empowered, by my time with DAS (rounds 1 and 2) and Carlingwood Branch. I am frightened of the future, but confident that I can face it, with the tremendous support I have from all the people I have walked with so far along this road, and especially with The Husband by my side ("Their happiness was in each other's keeping and both were unafraid." I re-read this quote on our wedding day, and it is unchanging despite everything).

So. Off I go. Four boxes packed for the lovely Materials Delivery team to ferry over to Main Library. Too many goodbyes, a few hugs, many kind words. On Monday, a new calling, some happy reunions, and hopefully kind words and hugs, too.

This post makes me conclude I have been hanging out with my mum far too much (just kidding, Mum!)

Meanwhile, I have my ear cocked, like that little girl on the church kneeler. I am ready. I will go where I am led. I have a lot of work to do. I hold a lot of people in my heart.


  1. You will be super in this new venture because you ARE super!! Congratulations, and I look forward to hearing about all the adventures this new chapter of life brings.
    (by the way...did you know that there are actually left-wing evangelical Christians?!...and ones that are not keen on overly emotive versions of songs and hymns with pretty cool words?). :-)

    1. Oh...someone asked me for an example of a left wing evangelical Christian. Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter is one.

  2. Shiva nataraja is the best. Good luck, Alex - I'm sure you'll be great! And was that apology aimed at me?

  3. Hang in there, Woman! I believe the 'mess' is also by design (be it by a deity or as part of the path to fulfilling your human potential - or both :) !). All the elders and teachers say that a Calling is meant to stretch and challenge you to 'work the weak points', whatever they are. From one who knows, I can say this can be *massively* uncomfortable sometimes! Sticking this out and rising to the 'dare' put forward by the Universe takes courage and stamina, things I know you have in spades, my friend :). This too shall pass...
    On a related note, what is the source of that great wedding quote?

  4. Oh, also, I know you said you're not sure this work is your Calling, but to me you have talked about wanting to be of service and loving being a librarian/working in the public library system. When you combine that with 'doing what you believe is right', to me whether you call it a 'Calling' or living a Life, what I said above still applies!
    On a personal note, I'm happy you're back in this building, too! Hugs aplenty!