If you are here for an entertaining post about the adventures of serving on the mission field, you’ve got the wrong blog. You were probably looking for the Callahans’ blog (but seriously, you should read that if you have time). This particular post is a window into the life of a very ordinary person, doing an ordinary job, surrounded by extraordinary people serving an infinitely extraordinary God.
I am the web developer. Most of my job in the past few months has been dealing with general website content, maintaining various websites, and planning and working on new things we’ll be doing within the next year. These are the times when I wish I was part of a team of web developers working on this, rather than the only one. A team that can meet, strategize, decide on best practices, refine our techniques…
As I knew when I signed on for this position, my job is not exciting (well, it often is to me, but not to a normal person). I never expected to be able to write riveting updates full of thrilling events that would have everyone on the edges of their seats. After reading about Seth introducing his neighbors to hot chocolate, and laughing until I cry, I sit down to try to explain my joy in learning the difference between
empty(), and it just falls a little flat.
So my job’s not exciting to talk about. But, by the Grace of God, I do, have the privilege of working with people who get how important it is. They may not care if I use
if ( isset($a) && $a ) or
if ( ! empty($a) ), but they know what life is like without a web developer, and they appreciate the snot out of me! They also accepted me into the team without looking back.
Unfortunately, being appreciated doesn’t make me normal. Here I’m defining normal as thinking/acting the same as the majority of people surrounding you. The people who surround me are those who create, those who think outside the box, those who understand grammar and language intimately enough to wrestle words into clear communication of an idea, a feeling. Some of them can make an idea take root better in the reader by selecting the right font, or changing the punctuation, or color, or layout of a page. These are all very different from what I do. I write out commands to get a computer to show you what they created, and to show it to you the same way every time.
So while I’m a loved and appreciated black sheep, I’m still the black sheep on my floor. This has led me into a season of a weird kind of loneliness. People stick their heads in my office, I get plenty of emails, and have good friendships with several of my coworkers, but there’s a certain amount of disconnect. When I really share what I’m working on, I have to translate it into another language and still feel like I’m barely understood. I’m not involved in very many meetings (especially ones that zero in on a specific topic), because all the meetings I would be involved in include only me.
So yeah, I wish we had a few more web developers to share the job with. People who could look at code I write and say “you’re doing it wrong,” or “that’s genius!” But thus far, the God who provides all we need has provided Ethnos360 with me, and no other web developers right now, and I have to be ok with that. And I think I am! Don’t get the impression that I mope around like the loneliest person in the world, because my life is pretty good right now. I just wanted to open up a window into my ordinary life, and help explain why, sometimes, I might look a little distracted or in my own little world.
This Thanksgiving, I thank God that He put my lonely little world right here in the middle of the 6th floor world, which isn’t very lonely at all.
P.s. In PHP,
empty($a) returns the same as
! isset($a) && ! $a. It’s the right function to use to test things like a
$_POST variable that may or may not be set and where a falsy value should produce the same result as the non-existence of the variable. It helps avoid the errors that are thrown when
$a is not set and you just use
if ( $a ).