The Waiting

It has been quite a week…

Friday morning I got an email with news that I have been waiting for for about 15-17 years.

Now, truth be told the first 6-8 years was me waiting to turn 18 so that I could actually graduate from high school, attend college, and then start this dream.  But I still count those years because I knew back then that this is what I was meant to do.

The next 5 years or so I spent working through the educational requirements necessary to get to this point.

But then I was ready and there were no jobs, and no one could give me a chance, and I couldn’t find a way to demonstrate that this is where I’m supposed to be.  I started to second guess myself.

I wondered how I could have been so wrong for so many years about my purpose in life.

I wondered how I could have completely misread every sign or direction indicating the path that God had for me.

I wondered why God had given me such a strong passion for this field if this wasn’t where I was supposed to be.

I prayed that if this wasn’t the course God had for me that he would make it obvious.  That he would take away my desire for this course.  That I would discover something else I was passionate about, that I was also good at.

When none of that came, I doubted myself.  I doubted my faith.  I doubted my belief in God.

What kind of God lets you pursue something passionately with seemingly great success until the final moment and then rips it all away from you, leaving you with no purpose?

Why wouldn’t God reveal a new purpose for my life and give me something to be passionate about when I begged for it?

I asked myself those questions a lot, and since I was unemployed and essentially homeless except for my parents generosity I had a lot of time to sit and ponder those questions.  I couldn’t find an answer.  And then my 16-year-old cousin died in a horrible horrible tragic accident.

I still feel myself go numb when I think about how he died.  My hands and forearms tingle and I can hear the blood rushing in my head and I can’t bring myself to think about it beyond that point.

My cousin was a phenomenal athlete, he was passionate about going into medicine, he was funny, he was kind, and everyone in the tiny town he lived in knew that he loved Jesus.

I wondered how in the world I could be alive when I clearly had been wrong about the purpose of my life for so long and I didn’t know where God wanted me.  I didn’t feel useful and my sweet cousin who was only 16 and loved Jesus and was a shining example was lying in the ground.

As I’ve moved forward from all of that I’ve found myself feeling ambivalent about God.  I’m scared to turn away, but I’m scared to trust and I’ve been in limbo for a long time.

I have been trying hard over the last year to reformulate goals for my life without the main one I have always had.  I realized that I have been a sort of one-dimensional person and that I planned to use that path to fulfill everything.  I’ve focused a lot on what kind of person I want to be if that door is never opened.

I think the hardest part for me has been that as I’ve formulated  a plan for how I will serve and who I will reach and what I will do, I haven’t been able to move past the desire for the path that I’ve always wanted.

I’ve prayed hard for God to take that desire from me.  If that’s not his will then he should just take that desire.

But he hasn’t, and I’ve continued to struggle over the last year with that voice in the back of my head that reminds me of another course.

In December a door opened for the path I have always wanted to pursue.  In January, when my supervisor died, I found myself torn between thinking that I should stay where I am and that I was forging ahead trying to force something to happen and wondering what Frank would have done differently if he had known he was going to die the day after his 53 birthday.

Even as I’ve waited, and submitted forms, and waited some more I have been praying that if this isn’t God’s plan that he would prepare me for that, and that he would take away this desire.

I cried on the phone with my mom because I wanted to be able to get the news that this door was closed forever and say “It is well with my soul.”  But I couldn’t.  I knew if I got the news that this door was closed, I was still after all this waiting going to be absolutely crushed.

Then on Friday while I ran on the elliptical I got the word.

The answer was yes.

I jumped off the elliptical and literally ran through the lobby of my building so that I could call Homie to tell him the news.  I was pacing in circles in my tank top and shorts in front of the building and it was much too cold for those clothes, but I didn’t notice.

I cried in the shower wondering how I can even begin to thank God when I had stopped believing that he had a plan for me.

I wondered throughout the day if I would get some word that actually there was some sort of error or problem and that I actually didn’t get this position.  And maybe the moral of the story wouldn’t end with after waiting and struggling to trust these last 3 years it all paid off, but that actually the story would be that after waiting and struggling I got a yes but then some mistake had been made and I actually got a no.  Maybe my story would be how I responded to that last bit of devastation.

I sound paranoid.  Clearly Doubting Thomas has nothin on me.

Those thoughts ran through my head though.

I think it has just started over the last day or two to sink in that this is for real.  This is happening.  This is the course I will take.

In 11 days it will all be completely official.  In 17 days I leave for almost four months of training.

The whole entire wait is almost over.

Monday Mantra

trying

I need to keep this in mind.  I thought I had been, but I had a complete meltdown yesterday that made it ridiculously apparent that no, I have not been keeping this in mind.

While I sat on his lap sobbing trying to explain why I was upset, Homie actually said these words to me.  It’s funny because I’ve never showed him this quote.  I’ve never told him that I pull up this image regularly to remind myself.  But these were the words he said to me in the middle of my meltdown.

It’s not failure if I’m still trying because it isn’t the end yet.

Identity Crisis

The last two years have been a bit of an identity crisis for me.  I spent the latter half of 2013 drowning in failure.  Then the first half of 2014 afraid to hope, certain that everything that seemed to be improving was going to fall out from under me.

It was only as 2014 came to a close that I was able to look back at the last year and a half critically and identify why some specific failures were so devastating.  Why not getting hired for the position I wanted completely derailed my confidence and made me feel like a total and utter failure.

Long story short, I realized that I have wrapped my identity up in my career.  Everything about me, my goals, my purposes in life has been tied to one thing.

When that one thing began to crumble and seemed to be slipping from my grasp it made me wonder who I am.

What is my purpose?

What the heck am I doing?

Where am I going?

What am I good at?

How do I move forward?

Who am I if not this person I have been working to be for 15 years now?

 

The Fall

This fall of 2013 was overwhelming for lots of reasons. It was followed by disappointment after disappointment.

I thought I would be converted from an intern to a full-time employee October 1, so Homie took a new job that began September 4th.

We went and looked at an apartment on September 9, but had this weird gut feeling that we should not sign on it, even though we both really liked it and it was only two blocks from his office.

The next day I was told completely unexpectedly that my job offer had to be rescinded and they were not able to hire me.

No explanation was given and I was completely devastated.

I finished the project I was working on and ended on September 18th. It seemed silly to come in two more days when I had nothing to do, and I obviously wouldn’t be starting any new projects.

That first full week being at my parents house hanging out wasn’t too bad because I had a job interview on the 17th that had gone really, really well. After the interview was finished they had me wait for a few minutes and then had me meet immediately with HR to get all of the particulars about salary, pay schedule, overtime, uniforms, insurance etc.

I then went straight into a meeting with the background investigator and she gave me a giant packet to complete which I did right there with her in the office so that they could get it done as quickly as possible.

I left that day after being told that while my start date wasn’t certain, they would contact me and I would either be the next person brought on or maybe the one after that but they for sure had a vacancy for January so that would be my latest start date.

I was beyond elated. Homie was so proud of me he bought me a bouquet of flowers and a six-pack of Smirnoff Ice.

And then on October 4, just a few days after getting back from one of the worst trips I have ever had to make I got a letter thanking me for applying and letting me know that they would keep my information on file but at this time they did not have a position for me.

What the fuck. I have no idea what happened. Absolutely no clue. The only negative in the whole entire background interview process was when she asked if anyone in my family drinks to excess. And in that second my in-laws previously poor behavior with alcohol flashed through my mind. And I felt like I needed to include that even though I don’t have a close relationship with them.

So I mentioned that the only people I have ever seen drink to the point of being drunk (in my family) are my in-laws. And then I had to answer extensive questions about their drinking habits. Which I really don’t know because a couple of times being present when they were drunk was a couple of times too many. I avoid being present when they are drinking. The questions kept coming and I tried to make it clear I really don’t know their habits, just that they do drink to the point of excess. Finally the investigator asked, “do you think they would show up here drunk?”

My response was as close to a “hell no” as you can give in a job interview. I explained this was social/lonely drinking and that they have never ever driven drunk to my knowledge.

In my head I was thinking “dude, you are assuming that my in-laws would even know where or when I work which is kind of unlikely.

And I really have no idea if that influenced their decision. I don’t know. It’s hard to think that it didn’t since that is the single negative answer I gave about anything. I have the squeakiest clean record ever. I have never even been pulled over by the police.

I have never been out of the country, I don’t have friends in foreign countries, I’m not part of any kind of group or organizations except some service/charity organizations.

I literally have no idea what went wrong.

When I got the letter I was so devastated. I walked out of the house and walked through the dark neighborhood with my chest heaving in silent sobs.

I went to bed immediately because I couldn’t even handle being awake. I didn’t want to think about anything. I just wanted to cease to exist at that moment.

Even more so than the position that I thought I was going to get as a result of my internship, this was my dream job.

I haven’t touched the letter since that day. I still don’t really let myself think about it.

Fear & Failure

The whole first week after we moved in I couldn’t even enjoy being in our new place because I had this feeling of horror that we were going to have to give it up. I don’t know why, I did the budget over and over. I just had this feeling of sheer panic that we were going to need to immediately move out and just hope that they let us out of the lease. I didn’t want to unpack because I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to get everything out in time.

I was mentally composing the email to our friends asking them if they could come back and help us reload everything.
I know that sounds weird. I think because after 9 months of hoping for things to happen and then something going wrong each and every time I was just afraid to hope. It did not seem possible that something good could actually be happening and the details working out.

That fear combined with a little bit truckload of disappointment in myself for not meeting my goals made it hard to enjoy the change.

When I was about ten years old I decided that I would buy a house by the time I was 25. Despite everything, I still think that was a fairly reasonable goal. And all through grad school I had it in my head that I would graduate April 2013, start my new job either May or June 2013, sign a lease, start cranking away at my student loans, and begin stashing for a down payment.

Homie and I even talked about a plan to earn an extra $7,000 or so. I would move to my new job, he would move in with my grandparents, we would give up our apartment and he would stay an extra 3-4 months at his job so that we could maximize our income. If he got a new job at the same time or in that range he would accept it, but we knew we could handle being apart for 3-4 months.

Based on that plan we would sign a lease in May or June 2013, stash money away, and I figured by March 2013 start looking to buy. That way we would have time to do research, interview some real estate agents, and take a look at the areas we were considering. And then we could purchase anytime between May and September and life would be glorious.

Instead, we were apart for 4 months with a decrease in our income, I was offered a position starting in October, and Homie took a huge ass pay cut to move here with me. We then didn’t manage to sign a lease until March 2014.

And that means I failed. I will turn 26 in October of 2014 and I’m locked in a lease until March 2015. I’ve worked for 15 years to meet my goal. And even though signing a lease and having a place to live again is fantastic and awesome and I sound like a brat, there was still a big part of me mourning the fact that I failed to meet my goal.
I feel like all I’ve done is fail.

Failure

I have felt like a failure perpetually since September. That burden gets heavy man.

I feel like I have failed in everything. I achieved my goals for my education, but the job that was supposed to come after that point I haven’t managed to attain.

And I haven’t been able to find any kind of career position in the almost 2 years that I have been looking.

I had a couple of potential opportunities and they just slipped through my fingers.

I feel like a failure.

I failed at my biggest goal ever.

I am failing to fully support myself financially.

I am failing at planning for my future.

I am failing at friendships.

I am failing as a wife.

I am failing to be the person I want to be.

I am failing at my faith.

I just feel weary of carrying this burden of failure around.