Purpose Lost

Author’s Note: This is a repost from an earlier version of Dunebat Country.

I remember a time when I felt certainty’s hand, a blue-white flash of purpose in the halcyon days of a lost youth I still can’t stop chasing.

I was a young bat when I saw an episode of the children’s educational program Reading Rainbow in which host LeVar Burton offered viewers a glimpse behind the scenes of another series he worked on — Star Trek: The Next Generation, an old favorite of mine. The clouds parted like a scroll at that moment, and I knew who I was — I would work in television production. (Thank you, LeVar Burton!)

I did not pursue this career, however. It pursued me.

A half-semester-long internship at the local school system’s rarely-seen television system… Three-and-a-half years at the local CBS affiliate… Over eight years at a local religious station with international reach… Seven more at the local ABC/FOX affiliates… Over nineteen years of experience behind cameras or seated at editing stations, learning screenwriting and by-the-second timing, overcoming my fears of failure and of dealing with other people, learning to guide talent and hone myself, and I didn’t seek out any of that on my own.

I never worked toward being in television production. I never went to college for that career, and I never studied anything about it before I got the internship in high school or the CBS gig shortly thereafter. All of that was given to me by Adonai’s hand.

The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.

In many television markets, there isn’t much money to make in television production. All the real money is made by standing in front of the camera — and you can be easily screwed out of that by a bad rookie contract — or by sitting in a cushy chair in an office upstairs.

When I worked at the religious station, I felt an intense sense of purpose in what I was doing. It wasn’t exactly the kind of filmmaking I wanted to do; I’d always hoped that would come later in life. Even so: I was working in my desired field of expertise and having fun doing so; I was learning interesting and exciting new things every year; I was paid very well for my services (making four or five dollars more per hour than my secular counterparts); and spreading the spiritual message of the station through my work — a message I agreed with completely — lent a sense of direction in life that I hadn’t experienced before and haven’t experienced since.

It was, obviously, not meant to last. I eventually found work elsewhere, still in my chosen field and still in an important capacity in the industry (televised news), but nowhere near as spiritually enriching or financially rewarding as the previous job.

When I worked that last TV gig, the money just wasn’t there. I put in seven dutiful years and experienced existential Hell, but with mounting debts, I made a difficult decision and left the industry entirely.

While I’m still climbing out of debt for more personal reasons, I’ve got a better-paying job in the tech sector and I have tremendous hope for my financial horizons.

Nevertheless, I feel an emptiness within that I cannot fathom, and I long to have my hands on a studio camera one more time…

About Dunebat

Sole specimen: Desmodus desertus. Judeo-Christian anchorite/scribe/scribbler. Lover of nerds, Goths, creatives, & outcasts.

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