Thursday, March 17, 2011

Disapointment Part II

The exiting Faculty-in-Residence offered to have The M and I over to the apartment to answer questions we might have and see the place. I set it up, though The M was still thinking there was no way we would apply for this position. But the day we went to the apartment, she became envisioned. She caught it.  Now she understood why I thought this was perfect for us.

The exiting FIR was so kind and answered all our questions. She told us they were looking for someone who would have a ministry with the students, and that was the most important thing. That resonated with us very much, as we enjoy being with students and getting to know them on a deep level. We love to encourage them when they are down, and simply walking through life with them.

Furthermore, The M and I both have a history of clinical depression, and she has also struggled with an anxiety disorder. This opportunity to taste a little suffering of our own has been used by God to cultivate a deep compassion in us for the hurting. It's a compassion I didn't have ten years ago. I wouldn't have chosen to get it this way, but he really does find ways to use the bad in our lives to bring about good.

And we also know that there is a higher-than-average incidence of mental illness among intellectually gifted young people like the ones in the engineering dorm. It's our empirical observation and we believe it is true, but it's not widely known outside of mental health circles. So The M and I were particularly excited to reach out to those struggling with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and so on. I didn't plan to start "seeing patients" or making diagnoses, but I do have "eyes to see" the symptoms and help students get the professional help they need.

(These reasons do not adequately explain the multi-faceted way that we saw ourselves not only being a blessing to the students in this role, but also being blessed ourselves by it.  My description here is one-dimensional in comparison to reality, but it's more detail than you want to read or I want to share in so public a venue.)

To make a long story short, we applied, were interviewed, but did not get the position. I think that our interpretation of the position was not exactly what they were actually looking for. I think they were looking for more of a leader and an organizer, and less of a shepherd and a nurturer.  Perhaps I was in love with the idea in my own mind, and not the "real" position, in the same way young couples love the person they think they are with, but who, eventually, prove to be someone else altogether.

It's been nearly two weeks and I am still deeply disappointed. I have not wanted something so badly, and had it denied, in a long time.  The only other sense of disappointment that I can remember on this level was not getting into the Master's program I wanted back in 1990.  And this time, my entire family wanted it with me, especially The M.  So I feel extra disappointment for letting her down.  And I feel extra rejection, because she was rejected with me.

I know I am going through the stages of grief.  I am passed "Shock and Denial" and somewhere between "Pain and Guilt" and "Anger and Bargaining".  Inside my own mind, I am second guessing everything I said in the interview (guilt) and angry with everyone involved in the decision and the other applicant that got the job (anger)!  I know it's not rational.  In my head, I know my pain is not their fault nor my own. But in my heart I am reeling.


Laurie Matherne said...

Hmmm. I suffer from depression, too. I must be very creative and intelligent. Yes, engineering students too have that knack at times, too. My nephew is almost ready to graduate from LSU in engineering. He is depressive. I have urged him to take non profit trips such as what you have done in the past. Looking beyond our present pain helps us to overcome those tendencies toward self introspection and depression. I trust that God has other and better plans for you, Mr. Orangehouse.

Redlefty said...

So sorry, man. I grieve with you.

(Also have a history of some depression and a significant anxiety disorder that kicked in this week, for the first time in two years. And you're right, it really does put us in a position to do some good.)