10 things to do after getting fired from your Intentional Christian Community house

1. Sob real ugly. Once you climb up the stairs after your mediated house meeting with your pastor, and are in your room, shut the door, crouch low to the floor, and let it all go. Sob those gaspy, choke-y type sobs, with your head in your hands, the way you do when you get dumped or someone on LOST finds redemption. Blame yourself, tell yourself you are the worst person in the whole world and nobody will ever love you or want to live with you ever again, especially because, in addition to this mess, you are underemployed, currently homeless and gasp still unmarried at 34 when your brother just had his 8th child. But be quiet about it –cry into your scarf, dammit– so they don’t gather further evidence of your over-emotiveness to purge you even quicker from their midst.

2. Allow your self to feel really bad, for like, 15 minutes. Mourn, grieve, lament– choose any spiritually sorrowful word that fits. Go outside, smoke a cigarette, and ponder the meaning of the beautiful, mocking sunset.

3. Pull yourself together. Suck it up and start packing. This is a good thing. This will be better for you. You had grown so much in the last year and a half and this atmosphere was weighing you DOWN. It kept reminding you of your old, cranky, ego-driven 32-year old self who you SO no longer are (well… you’re on your way).

4. Remember that blog you read like 2 weeks ago called “I AM A F***ING UNICORN: 10 things to do when you get fired for the first time” — and look into the mirror and tell yourself, “I AM A F***ING UNICORN. I am a beautiful, mystical creature. I have lots and lots of good things to offer this world, and for too long I have been forcing myself to act like a horse. And every time I did, my golden horn was losing it’s magical powers. No more, baby. I’m free!! I’m free to prancerize my way back to being my happy, generous, fun-loving, creative self!” After you get dropped off at your friends’ place where you are crashing for a few days, pop open a bottle of – juice, that’s all she has – and allow yourself to feel happy and relieved that the worst is finally over.

5. As the high starts to wear off, after like 10 minutes, get into your jammies and binge-watch The Mindy Project to avoid dealing with it.

6. Wake up the next morning and feel home-sick for your old room in your old house with your old housemates. (What, you thought this was a progressively happier list?) Allow yourself to feel sad again. Cry when you receive texts from your ex-housemates that are also feeling horrible about this mess, but secretly feel relieved that they are not celebrating your absence with champagne and circus clowns.

7. Open up your journal and turn the sermon notes you made during the retreat 3 weeks ago, when that wise, female pastor/scholar who has endured so much was speaking about suffering. Remember her talking about all the faithful in Hebrews 11. Some lived great lives of faith, and were victorious and blessed. And “some were sawn asunder.” Some people lived great lives of faith and goodness, but they were met with lives of chaos, torture, and huge amounts of suffering. Living well, and being faithful, does not guarantee a life protected from pain. And enduring a painful past does not guarantee a painless present or future. But always, the God whose name is “I Shall Be There” will be present. You are never alone. And remember that the great cloud of witnesses, all the saints of the past are cheering you on, even now: “Courage!”

8. Breathe. Get out your handmade Anglican prayer beads, and pray the prayer of Saint Francis. Spend 20 minutes in centering silence. Let go. Let go. Let go. Bless the one with whom you are angry, and pray for peace, healing, and reconciliation.

9. Prescribe yourself some art and nature therapy. Go on a bike ride to the art supply store, take detours down the streets with the most red and yellow leaved trees. See that God has created the world beautiful for you, and nature is still majestically following ordered rhythms. Your pain is not all there is. Help your friend with the decorations for her mountaineering-themed wedding this weekend. Draw, and plan for some linocut prints and cards for the All-Handmade Sale coming up. Memorize a huge chunk of Ephesians for a dramatized scripture presentation at church on Sunday. Plan for it to be complete with masked djembe-players and a soul-less-turned-soulful mob, and dancing to a new rhythm after letting go of the old. Write this blog post, and laugh at yourself.

10. Be grateful. For your dear friend’s wedding. For seeing old friends. For laughter. For Over the Rhine. For upcoming, meaningful work. For lentil barely stew on a rainy day. And for new, affordable housing, with a lovely, generous woman, that seemed to drop out of the sky.

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2 Responses to “10 things to do after getting fired from your Intentional Christian Community house”


  1. 1 Sam Donaldson October 23, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Hello Jen,
    A few years back I stumbled across your blog and had a brief but interesting conversation with you over language, images, gender and God. Anyway, your blog popped into my mind again today.
    I’m sorry to read things are tough at the moment. It sounds like you’re dealing with it all very wisely.
    Don’t know if it will help at all, but I sometimes find this Taize chant a ray of hope when things are difficult:

    Peace,
    Sam

    • 2 Jen October 24, 2014 at 12:13 am

      Thanks Sam, for your kind words and for this Taize chant. I’ve listened to it twice already, by candlelight, and it is just what the doctor ordered. Peace to you as well.


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