My calling in this season of life looks different than how I used to live. I now claim the above “Ccd mama” title. We all want to have a sense of purpose & belonging and this Ccd work is mine. Christian because that is my moral base for truth & love, living with humans that make mistakes. Community because it is the structure of belonging created for all beings to feel a part of something big. And, development simply because you have to work at just systems for all people, as justice does not just happen because of laws.
My adult life started as a corporate gal, and I roared through the business world for 30 years. I did what I was educated to do and my life looked good. I traveled and acquired all the “things” that I was supposed to have by my Western prosperity standards. I married later in life, had a child… and well, then I knew I had it all!
When our daughter reached school age, we enrolled her in a Spanish-English dual immersion public school. We wanted to give her the gift of being bilingual in our globalized world. We also knew public schools would give her both character and community development skills, which we valued equally with academics.
Then, major life change… we were asked to relocate from downtown Chicago to California suburbia with my hub’s job. That shook my world! I did not want to move. And, when we did, I did not particularly like my new culture after 15 years in exciting Chicago. My identity was my fast-paced city lifestyle, my well-paying job and my church filled with a lot of people just like me. My new SoCal town was filled with people who were not anything like me and no one seemed to appreciate my Midwestern style – ugh. This was not at all comfortable!
I was also asked to be an outreach director at a large church – really? Most of my work hours had been in corporate world and my avocation time spent working with children & under-resourced people. I had participated in ”betterment” programs for others most of my life through church. It was my normal. However, this new role, along with our journey in blended public school community, began to wreck my “normal” upwardly mobile, prosperous lifestyle. It just no longer seemed desirable or right for our family.
So, we embarked on this journey of living different. We started studying about justice as part of a Christian lifestyle. I became grieved over the way I had lived. I had bought into personal prosperity and gave to others out of an idea of betterment, trying to give them the things I had. It took me a while to figure out that this was not really good. It did not foster dignity, or any type of empowerment through an equal exchange with under-resourced people. And, I began to see that many of my labeled “poor” friends had a much deeper faith and a happier life than my “prosperous” one… really, again?
That’s the short version of how I came to this CCD mama role. My family relocated again for my husband’s job – back to Chicago. We chose to move into a cultural & socio-economic diverse neighborhood. We committed to basing life in our blended ‘hood and to not “going & doing” most of our waking hours outside of our geographic community. We want to develop a deep sense of belonging and purpose with all the many ethnicities of people we live near. And I find it all good, though not always easy or comfortable. It is a wonderful fit for living & stretching in my faith, for my love of interesting people & ideas, and my heritage burden for justice in our world. It is also a tangible model for others to see how you can choose a simpler, more holistic, and different life as a person of faith in a globalized world of growing urban populations.
Interested in trying this type of role? Well, stay tuned for a series on Ccd mama experiences on my journey!