Jonah, meet Whale

25 05 2012

Sometimes, one must be completely removed from their environment and sent into a wilderness in order to be tested and refined. (NOTE:  To see what it was like leaving New York, you can click on the tag “The Big Move” in the tag cloud on the sidebar). In Key West, I feel that the pieces that had previously been missing are now beginning at long last falling into place. Shortly after I arrived, I took a full time position as a tour guide and helped them launch a new Ghost Tour. After a period of time as a guide, I was offered a position as the Operations Manager for the tour, enhancing the training program,expanding the roster of tour guides, and giving the operation a framework of greater structure. My time as an Executive Assistant at an investment bank in New York allowed me to witness first hand all sorts of different management styles, and I applied the good things I learned to my current position. In the time I have been the manager, we have seen solid growth both in employment, retention, and number of guests who take our tour. (Side Note:  I’m helping create jobs and I am not even asking for a tax break!) My General Manager and I are constantly looking at ways to improve on the foundation that has been established, and we take our ideas for bringing the operation to a higher level of sophistication to his superiors as appropriate.

I also feel that there has been an immense amount of growth on a personal level…and still a lot more growing to do as I learn more about myself, where I am strong and where I am weak. There are times when I feel the Prayer of Confession is a bit more heartfelt, I can tell you! Living in Key West is a very good introduction into what it means to live as a public figure, for in a small town, there is little chance of anonymity as there is in a major metropolitan area. You are also exposed people from every walk of life, high and low, established and transient, and they all deserve the inherent respect and dignity due to them as beings made in the image of God, even when privately you may think you have no use for them.

Financially, things here are quite different. This island at end of US-1 is as costly as living in Manhattan, and one is blessed if they are able to find the resources to live half as comfortably here as one might there. Finally, being at St. Peter’s has been a remarkable experience. We are a small, but diverse parish with a great many gifts to bring to the wider community. I have witnessed and participated in evangelism happening on a front porch, I have seen a music director step in a draw gifts out of people that they didn’t know existed, and the Vicar has been gracious enough to allow me to preach in his pulpit on occasion as well as be a jack-of-all-trades/swing-man in the altar party. Each and every service at St. Peter’s, regardless of my level of participation evokes the same sense of being in exactly the right place and the right time, a sense of fulfillment, and a sense of “rubber meeting the road” from just over six years ago.

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