Day 6 and 7: Divine Dissatisfaction
I was struggling, but those standing with me at coffee hour after church had no clue of my struggle. To them, I had it all. I had my dream job as a magazine editor in Manhattan, which often meant missed dinners with friends as I was called away on business trips to Italy or Switzerland or Thailand or Africa—places where the fine jewelry industry housed designer ateliers and dirt speckled with diamonds and precious gemstones.
I had my dream apartment—no studio here, but an actual one-bedroom apartment with no need for a roommate—complete with a doorman and a convenient midtown location so going uptown or downtown to try a new city hotspot was not a pricey cab ride.
I had a boyfriend. And I had a cat. I had it all…so it seemed to others. But I was struggling. All that I had was, for some reason, not filling my heart with this sense of peace and contentment. It got to the point where I had to speak to someone about this. And so I spoke to the associate pastor of the Fifth Avenue church I was attending.
I pulled her aside in the room coffee hour was being held and dangled out to her in guarded and cryptic words my struggle, trying not to get to deep over coffee and cookies. I didn’t think I was making sense and soon thought this was not a good idea to speak to the pastor at this time, but she seemed interested. She even seemed to understand my guarded and cryptic words. Perhaps she was once where I am now, I thought. Suddenly my interest in her backstory was piqued. After I was done speaking she nodded her head as if reminiscing back to some page in her scrapbook of life and with a twinkle of excitement in her eye that I couldn’t understand she told me what was going on with me.
“You are experiencing divine dissatisfaction,” she said.
“What?” I asked, finding her apparent glee for this not-so-fun place I was in a bit unsettling.
“Dissatisfaction that is divine,” she said as if switching the order of the words spoken would give me my “Ah-ha!” moment. It didn’t.
“What?” I said again.
She took my hand and led me to her office where she invited me to sit down. This was no longer a passing conversation to be had in the corner of the room where coffee hour was being held.
As I sat down in the chair my reporter senses kicked in and I quickly took inventory of her office. Some of the best stories of the subjects I have interviewed came not from what they told me, but of the story the décor and trinkets and pictures in the office told. Her story was emerging and, unknowingly to me, so was mine.
Kim was her name and she was just a few years older than me. She was from down south and came to the big city to become a professional dancer. And dance she did, performing with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. That explained to me why she had the lithe body of a dancer.
Dance and her African heritage blended beautifully and when she came to New York City she thought her heart would never stop dancing with joy for the answered prayers she had received.
One day, though, her heart stopped dancing with joy. The steps she took to the music were not feeling right. She struggled. Those around her had no idea. Her friends thought she had it all.
One morning as she walked to the dance theatre, she kept on walking. She found a bench in front of a bus stop and sat. Just then she took out the Bible that had been thrown into her backpack for quite some time and never taken out. Hesitantly she opened it and she began to seek God. As she sought God’s will she began to see God had another dream for her—to tell the world of God’s goodness as a pastor. To the surprise of her friends and family, she announced she was entering seminary. And here she was sitting before me in her black clerical robe with an African inspired stole that I now noticed had images of women dancing in the joy of the Spirit.
“You have a gift and a passion for communicating through the words you put down on paper,” she said. “Perhaps those words are not to be of jewelry anymore. Perhaps those words are to be of something more precious and more beautiful.”
“Divine dissatisfaction,” I whispered now understanding what she meant. She was speaking of a dissatisfaction that is often God’s way of getting our attention to the new things God has for us. For with God there are always new dreams to pursue.
I opened my bag and scrounged around deep to the bottom and pulled out my pocket Bible that I had always carried but never opened.
I opened it now, and the hands of a former dancer turned big city pastor and a soon to be former magazine editor turned accidental country pastor of a little white church clasped together tightly. Two women, two stories, two dreams realized and yet to realize…and we prayed. We thanked God for those beautiful unsettling moments known as divine dissatisfaction in our lives, for they are the moments that lead us in becoming all we are meant to become.
This Way of Life Lenten Challenge: Lent is the perfect season to explore the areas of dissatisfaction in your life. For perhaps it is a case of divine dissatisfaction and God is trying to awaken you to a new dream waiting for you.