I once heard Rob Bell say that between book projects, he always has this fear that people will forget about him. That he will disappear from the memory of folks, and so no one will buy his next book, or come to his next event. He told this to his therapist, and his therapist basically told him to get over himself. Besides, his therapist said, “It’s probably good for them to forget you for a while.”
The last few months for me have been… interesting. After 11 years of focused ministry in one place, where I had come to know many ministers, lawyers, judges, members of the media, and politicians, I practically feel invisible here. I don’t know who to call if I need something, or to effect change for someone else. I don’t know what agency does what yet, and who to refer someone to.
People don’t take my calls here sometimes, because they have no idea who I am. I am often stuck in waiting rooms that I would not have been stuck in back in Raleigh. I get the cold shoulder from people I want appointments with. I don’t have any positional power here. I don’t run a well-known org here, I don’t appear on the media on the regular, I don’t speak in their churches. Here, I am a nobody.
I spent most of the last 18 months either getting ready to move here, moving here, or unpacking after moving here, so vocationally I am having some recognition issues as well. I used to preach every week – but here I have only done that about once a month. I used to generate tons of written content for our website, but the last few months most of my creative work has been planning and cerebral.
Will the internet remember who I am? Will my future work be recognized and respected by people who have followed my work so far? I already see my numbers of “friends” drop on Facebook because I no longer talk as much about issues like homelessness as I once did.
Nobody here knows who I am, and I am OK with that for now. It is too easy to coast on the work you once did, on the laurels you once won, on the story of who you once were. Soon you become Al Bundy, forever regaling folks with reenactments of your winning touchdown in the big high school game.