I have a hard time slowing down or doing what most people refer to as “relaxing.” I am working on it and making slow progress, but I have a definite struggle with the “busy complex.” As I was nearing the end of grad school, I felt passionate about doing something where I could combine my counseling degree with being outside. There’s nothing better than the great outdoors to soothe the soul; that was my belief. This changed an ocean full of job opportunities into an extremely shallow pool. I’m sure I was a little naïve, but I quickly learned a lot…
After graduation I played around for a while. I was working on that relaxing thing I hadn’t done. I traveled, visiting my best friends from every stage of life who were located all over the country. I applied for jobs as I went, figuring something would work out. It was great … for three months … then I got bored.
I wasn’t doing anything to fulfill a greater purpose—the reason I pursued and earned my counseling degree. I started to feel uneasy … what is my future? Three more months went by. Uneasiness turned into full-blown panic. What’s wrong with me? I felt so sure about this … do I not have what it takes to do this work? Am I looking in the right places? Even still, I was set on waiting for the right job. I was confident my ideal job was out there, and I was trying my absolute best to be patient. To say that was hard would be an understatement.
Sure enough, something came along that looked pretty decent. It wasn’t everything I had hoped for, but it certainly offered some of the things I wanted to do. Plus, I felt sure that I would soon melt into nothingness or go crazy if I didn’t start to work soon. I felt the pressure, from myself as well as from others, so I took the job. It seemed logical. You have to pay the bills, right? I picked up, moved to a new place, and began work.
I felt the pressure, from myself as well as from others, so I took the job.
Of all the outcomes I could have imagined, I never would have guessed what transpired just two days later. I lost my job—the one that I had waited for, the one I had moved to another state to take. It quickly became clear that we had a strong difference in opinion on how the work should be done. They weren’t who I thought they were and I wasn’t who they thought I was. On both sides we rushed things, and it turned ugly. They wanted me to leave, immediately.
I held it together until I made it to bed, and then I cried flat-out, no-holds-barred sobs that came from unbelievable disappointment, confusion, and hurt. I was wounded to my core. How could this be happening after the painful journey to get here?
Yet in the messy sorrow, I just knew something better was going to come from it. I had been through enough trials to know that a great army was on my side and that this wasn’t the end of me, even though it felt like it was in the moment. I drove straight to the ocean where I cried and worked through the hurt. Then I gave it up—my plan and my expectations. I gave up control.
That’s when the best part happened. The right thing came along the exact same day I left the job that ended so very badly. I was driving in the car and heading to the coast when I received a call. My new opportunity was on the other end of the line. An employer I thought was the perfect fit just a few months earlier (but did not have a position open at the time) called to ask if I was still interested. It took every bit of energy to compose myself. Swallowing quickly, I did my very best to sound normal in that conversation. It wasn’t a promise at that point, but it was hope.
Was this crazy timing or what? Had they called one week earlier, even one day earlier, I would have said, “Sorry I have accepted another position.” But they didn’t. This was the job I was supposed to have; this was the place where I would use my talents.
It wasn’t a promise at that point, but it was hope.
All of this leads me to wonder: did I make a mistake or was it all part of the plan in the first place? To this day, I’m not sure of the answer. Whether it was right for me to take the first job or not, I learned by doing so. I was also given a new beginning—one that was better; one that I was even more prepared to take.
Looking back I realize that I became stronger through the hurt. Although it was painful, I can even say I am grateful for it. I learned once again that when what seems to be the worst case scenario rears its ugly head, it could actually be the best. That somewhat irritating silver lining is always there.
Where there was a painful ending, there was now a new beginning. And that is always the case. It may take time, even years to see it, but if you are looking for it you will find it. Believing you will get there, even in the midst of the current disappointment, will create a more peaceful process, a more hopeful heart, and the very real chance to begin again.
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