Faith, Family, & Focaccia

A faith and culture Mommy blog, because real life gets all mixed together like that.

Worth: Day 28 of the April Poetry Challenge

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The week has arrived. After nearly four years, an incredible European adventure, and a truly priceless opportunity to soak in my little ones’ tiny years, I am going back to work.

I am very aware that I am one of the lucky ones, not only because I had the freedom to take these years away from paid employment, but also because I am returning to an incredible opportunity that seems almost custom-made to fit my skills, interests, and family commitments. On second thought, luck is an inadequate descriptor for my career and family path. Fate seems more appropriate, or divine intervention.

I am going with divine intervention because that reminds me how much I will need continued intervention in the months to come. Of course my circumstances do not dictate any real variation in my reliance on God, but I am especially aware of the need to recognize this dependence now. My time away from the status of career taught me how much self-worth I have drawn from my work in the past. It was a relationship that I unlearned at the price of real emotional turmoil, and the perspective that work provided me is something I do not want to lose. The very wonderfulness of my new job is, for that reason, also a threat. It would be so easy to slip back into old shoes that offer the illusion of so much comfortable support.

But I want to walk a new path this time. And so, today’s poem is a prayer.



Where Does My Worth Come From


Three years ago I struggled with the loss

my markers of

identity and worth.

In giving up career I gave up more

than just the paycheck

and the daily grind.

I had to learn to live within my means

not in my budget

but my sense of self,

to find my value not in what I did

to earn a name

or make my voice be heard.

I had the chance to learn how, with new eyes,

to turn and look

upon to Psalmist’s mount.

“Where does my help come from? It comes from You”

who loved me, fragile,

in my mother’s womb.

It’s not the change that I can make or be

that gives me worth,

gives meaning to my life.

My value is best seen when I am clear,

transparent for

the light that burns inside.

And now a new beginning, new career:

a chance to shine,

or cover up Your light?

Lord, let me not be tempted now to strive

for worth I make,

but find my self in You.

Author: Serena Gideon Rice

In early 2011 my family moved our home, temporarily, from New Jersey to Milan, Italy. In the process I quit what had been my dream job conducting policy-directed social science research, to focus on my other dream job, raising our two young children. The three-year adventure was exciting, exhausting, disorienting, fulfilling, and countless other contradictions. It also birthed in me a desire to share my reflections on life's joys and challenges with anyone who cares to reflect with me. Now that we have returned to the US I'm finding that the new perspective I gained in Europe has come with me, and gives me a whole new way of interacting with my home. There's still so much to learn and share! I hope you'll share the journey, and add your own lessons to my daily education.

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