20 August 2014

Thoughts on the End of Work

Last Thursday was my last day of work.  I have been a Physiotherapist for the past 15 years; and aside from my regular vacation time, 2 months before I went to Tanzania, and 2 months after I got home from Tanzania, I have worked as a Physiotherapist for the past 15 years.  And now I am not.

I don't think that I have fully processed this yet.  I've been too busy with packing boxes and last-minute appointments to think about the fact that I'm not working.  I suspect that it will hit me in a little bit.

I have had 3 physiotherapy jobs since I graduated from university, and I have (mostly) loved all three of them.  I have had awesome employers, great colleagues, and amazing clients from whom I have learned so much.  When I finished school and for many years afterwards, it felt like a calling.  At first, I couldn't believe that the hospital was actually paying me for doing this.  I loved going in to work in the morning, I racked up professional volunteer hours, I eagerly attended continuing education courses.

But over time, things changed.  I still enjoyed my work and my interactions with my clients, but the enthusiasm just wasn't there the way it was in the beginning.  I haven't done any physiotherapy continuing education courses in a couple of years (shhh - don't tell the College!).  I can't remember the last Ontario Physiotherapy Association meeting that I attended (and it has been 5 years since I was on the local executive).  I wasn't excited when I was asked to let my name stand for the provincial board of directors a couple of years ago (and I didn't let it stand).

But I have been getting more excited about my church-land activities.  I loved the 2-year Lay Worship Leader course that I took.  Despite the challenges, I (mostly) enjoyed my time on the church board.  I love going to Presbytery meetings, representing my home congregation and becoming more involved in a wider sense.

I don't think that our calling needs necessarily be static through our whole lives.  My current direction would not have been right for me 15 years ago, but it feels right for me now.  Despite the stress of selling my house and moving half-way across the country, it feels like the right thing to be doing.

And I am still a Physiotherapist.  I am still registered with the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario which allows me to use that title for myself.  I don't want to work at first, but I may look for some casual physiotherapy work at some point in my schooling.  With 4 months off in the summer, I will definitely be looking for physiotherapy-related summer jobs.  And when I am done, I will have options available to me, in terms of possibly combining physiotherapy and ministry.

I don't have very many pictures of me at work as a physiotherapist, but I will include this picture from my time in Tanzania.  This young man had spent many months in hospital following a car accident.  The local district of the Ontario Physiotherapy Association donated money to purchase a locally-made, locally-appropriate wheelchair, and so I visited his home, made the necessary measurements, and purchased this wheelchair using the donated money.  This picture was taken on delivery day - he was able to walk a bit around his house with assistance from his mother; but this wheelchair would give him the mobility to go beyond his house and participate more in his community.

14 August 2014

The Start of the Journey (or maybe the middle?)

If you are reading this, then you probably know that I am in the middle of packing up my house and getting ready to move half-way across this vast country.  Why would I do something like this?  I have come to the conclusion that I must be crazy.  Or at least a little bit off-kilter.  Because, 15 years after finishing school, I am about to go back again.

When I graduated from university, I was so glad to be done.  I was excited to enter my chosen profession of physiotherapy.  I had a job lined up in Thunder Bay, I passed the Physiotherapy National Exam, and I was set to go.

The years passed.  I traveled.  Lots.  I lived in Tanzania for 3 years working as a physiotherapist in a rural mission hospital.  I volunteered in different contexts.  I spent a total of 5 years on the executive of the local district of the Ontario Physiotherapy Association.  Music is a fun hobby.  I bought a house 7 years ago and have enjoyed learning how to garden in this climate.

But then, maybe about 5 years ago, I started feeling little nudges that maybe this wasn't going to be where I was going to stay.  And so after 5 or 6 years of informal, internal discernment and a year of formal discernment, I am headed to seminary.  I will be studying for my Master of Divinity, and if all goes well, in 4 years, give-or-take, I will be ordained as a minister in The United Church of Canada.

Several people have told me that they want an easy way to keep up with me, and what I am doing, and what I am learning; and so I have decided to start this blog as a way to keep in touch with friends and family.  My goal is to update it every week or so.

And so my Next Great Adventure is about to begin!  Let me buckle my seatbelt and hang on for the ride.  I was planning to put a picture of a road in here - or maybe a road with a fork in it ("I took the road less traveled" etc.).  But that isn't my preferred means of transportation, so instead I will finish off with this picture.  Something to remind me of my heart's home here in north-western Ontario even when I am living half a continent away; as well as a reminder of the journey that we all take through this wild and crazy life.  What will be waiting on the other side of the bend in the river?