The Journey: Making it in the gig economy

Posted by Rev. Daniel Christian on

                      I will be leaving Ukiah in June. I have been working and commuting from my home in Novato to First Presbyterian Church of Ukiah for one year. When June rolls around it will be fifteen months since I began. I have travelled 33,000 miles up and down 101 and listened to over 40 books on CD. I have listened to “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens, “Truman” by David McCullough, “The Mindful Path to Self Compassion” by Christopher Germer, PhD, and “Imperfect Birds” by Anne Lamott to name just a few.

Sometimes I listen to the radio, but not as much. However, on my way home Sunday I heard a story about “The Gig Economy.” The gig economy is an environment in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements. The trend toward the gig economy has begun. One study predicts that 40 percent of American workers will be independent contractors by 2020. I listened to the story and said to myself, “hey, I didn’t realize this, but maybe I am a member of the gig economy!” I took some comfort knowing that I am not alone.

This got me thinking about life transitions. How we transition, adapt and accept change. I am reminded of a Bible passage from the book of Proverbs, which is in the Old Testament, also known as the Hebrew Bible. Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in God with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” I can honestly say, I haven’t always done this immediately when I have faced change in my life. I can live inside my head, and well, things can get stuck there! Just ask my wife and daughter. They will say, “yeah daddy gets stuck in head.”

Wherever you get stuck, albeit in your head, heart, body or soul we can live into the hope that God is at work when we go through changes. It takes the pressure off me thinking I have to do it all by myself. This is helpful because I am getting my resume out and contacting people and sometimes this has moments of being less than exciting.

With new beginnings on my mind we stayed home on Saturday because of the rain and decided to watch “Fiddler on the Roof.” The father Tevye says, “A Fiddler on the roof. Sounds crazy, no? But here, in our little village, you might say every one of us is a fiddler on the roof trying to scratch out a pleasant, simple tune without breaking his neck. It isn’t easy. You may ask, ‘Why do we stay up there if it’s so dangerous?’ Well, we stay because this is our home. And how do we keep our balance? One word, Tradition! ”

The movie has themes of loss, change and profound courage to begin again. I think all of us can identify with being a fiddler on the roof at some time in our life. I draw strength knowing that God has, is, and will continue to shine a light forward for all of us when we face the changes and transitions that life has to offer. When we face change, it is important to be patient and kind to yourself. It is in the in between moments of life when God enters in and begins showing us the next road to take. Have a good week.

Rev. Daniel Christian is the Pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Ukiah.