Monday, 12 January 2015

I can't wait to see what God has for you!

When I was laid off, I had a long talk with myself. It was a talk that took months to have. What’s next? What do I want? What do I need? What does my family need? In those months I compiled a mental list of answers to those questions and combined it with what other people were saying, and what I discerned God saying to me.
It went something like this: Write, speak, teach, benefits, pension, groups, people, Masters. Folks often followed this up with a heartfelt, “I can’t wait to see what God has for you!!!”
Writing, speaking and teaching made sense.  Groups of people/communication are what I’m passionate about. Benefits and a pension are a bonus. I’m 45 and can’t work forever. There was financial confirmation of the Masters. And then there was that most encouraging of statements. “I can’t wait to see what God has for you!”

Those are beautiful words. I held onto them in my darkest days. But they were words that I interpreted to mean my next position was going to be so fantastic, the disappointment of my job loss will make complete sense, in fact, I will REJOICE that I no longer have that profession.
If any of you are ever in my situation please don’t interpret those words like I did. It could set you up for more pain.

Last week was the crucial week for me. I knew that by Friday, the next part of my journey would be decided. I had two interviews for jobs that I was qualified for. I had a work offer that was ok, but not what I was really looking for. I was optimistic and confident.
The interviews were great. I felt positive. They liked me, they really liked me. Cue Celebration by Kool and the Gang.

Then Thursday happened. In the matter of a few short hours: our hamster died, I was not chosen for job #1, I took my class 4 drivers knowledge test and failed, (I needed it for a potential position) and then was promptly passed over for job #2  – the one I really wanted – it would have been that rejoice – look what God had for you kind of job.

I cried.

And accepted the prior job offer that I had.

The next three days I was an emotional mess. I couldn’t reason with myself. I felt like I had let everyone down who said to me, “I can’t wait to see what God has for you!” I was a failure, plain and simple.

I didn’t see any light until Sunday. Then I saw something. I saw that my new position gives me opportunity to write, speak and teach. Had I gotten one of those two other posts I would have become comfortable in myself again, and not pursued these three things. I have benefits. I may even have a pension. It is a large organization and there is room for me to grow. I’m working with groups of people. I feel direction regarding my Masters degree.  
I experienced the gift of perspective.

In less than 48 hours my new job starts. It was not what I expected. I was not what I thought God would give me. I don’t even know that it’s a step “up” in my career. But I will learn things I did not know I needed to know. Any maybe, just maybe, what God has in store for me won’t be so bad after all.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Chapters are not forever (total epiphany)

I read many year end reflections this week. Lots of resolutions. Lots of promises. I posted one on FB too. Folks from all over were claiming that 2015 is going to be the best year yet.
It might be.
This is more than the beginning of a new year for me. This is the beginning of a whole new chapter in my life. I've had four months to grieve the loss of my job and make some sort of sense of that. I've dusted myself off. It's time to start over again.
I've had more doors close. I've sung with a group of Ladies for four years and that is done. I've applied for close to 150 jobs and most of them were "no". I've had a handful of interviews and been offered a new job to start probably this week. I'm not going to tell you what the job is, because I have two more interviews in the next 48 hours and another two after that, so even if I start this one, it may be a short tenure.
I look back at my life and wonder why it is so hard for me to move from chapter to chapter.
 - When I graduated from High School I went back over and over again for most every event.
 - I remember waking up the morning that my Parents took me to College. My first thought was, "This is the end of life as I know it.".
 - Then, when I graduated from College I sobbed during the entire ceremony. I could not bear for my College years to be done.
 - When I moved from Manitoba to BC I couldn't tell any of my students. Someone else had to. I could not share the news that I was leaving. Too hard.
 - I held on to a marriage for years that the other partner did not want to be part of. I could not fathom the end. It killed me.

These last four months its been mourning a job that I loved. And wondering what is next.
And being kind to myself in that process.
I sort of know what is next. There will be more school, there will be more teaching. there will be new adventures. Hopefully there will be a job that I love but even if there's not, I have learned an important lesson these 16 weeks. IT'S NOT FOREVER.
It doesn't sound like an epiphany but it is. I have travelled through each part of my life with this idea that THIS IS IT. And I have given 150% of myself to each section of my life because THIS IS IT.
But it's not.
Some things are. God and my family and some friends I know are along for the ride forever, but most things and people are seasonal.
That seems harsh and mean of me to say. I want everyone to be everything forever.
But it can't be. I can't let it be. It's too hard.

So in 2015 I am giving myself permission to move on. To make new memories. Some with the same people, some with new people. If I don't like my new job, it's not forever. I will keep God and my family as my focus, because they ARE forever (some of you will argue that family is not forever because they will pass away, as I will, but you know what I mean).

I give myself - and all of you - the gift of perspective. May it serve us well.