15 January 2009

Love will follow

I've had three months of introspection. It’s been a blessing.

I am not an ambitious person. At least not in the way we usually think of. I am not business minded. I don’t seek professional accolades or a shining career.

I want to live Simply. Beautifully. Fully.

Growing up I always wanted to be a mother. I've loved babies and children since forever and never saw motherhood as something unimportant; I didn't even realize that it was grossly undervalued until I was older. To me it was more desirable than anything else. I would show up to career day at school without a costume or a speech about how I wanted to be a firefighter or a doctor or a veterinarian or an actor. I would simply tell everyone that I was going to be a mom; plain and simple. I was never embarrassed or ashamed; it was just going to happen.

I've experienced a lot of pain, frustration, and disappointment based on the fact that it HAS NOT happened. 75% of the jobs I’ve taken in my life have been some form of care-giving. Whether teaching preschool, or working as a nanny for disabled kids, or working with delinquent teens or victims of abuse, they have all been ways to nurture and give. It took me a long while to realize that that was what I was doing. While I am forever grateful for the things I have learned in these jobs; it has also taken me a very long time to be able to admit how much it really, truly and deeply hurts that things have not worked out the way I planned. I'm not doing myself any favors by continuing to pretend that it doesn't bother me and that my heart isn't broken. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve plead with God for a family. I plead, make promises, make covenants, do what I believe I am supposed to do, and wait.

...and Wait.

The wait became a Weight. I very nearly gave up and turned to face another path, one that I knew was wrong for me, one that wouldn't make me happy, but that I believed would be easier. I had one foot on that path. Sometimes two. I've weighed the options and looked at all the angles and I know that my original path is correct, that on it I will find happiness, it’s just that all the weighty waiting can be so hard.

After losing my job I had to face the fact that it hurt to be let go so abruptly and then stop pretending to be brave. It took a couple of months but I finally let myself look at the wound, have a good cry and mourn the loss.

Then I had to face the fact that the reason I was dragging my feet about finding a job was that I was frustrated about not being where I'd planned. I always planned to be raising children at this stage in my life; not trying to pick up the pieces and start down a new career path.

I do not want to work for another company or agency that demands so much of my time, energy, and focus. The work I was doing was valuable and important and I am happy to say that with one exception, I have always had jobs that I could be proud of. This job and agency demanded so very much from me. Early on I helped interview job candidates for the type of work I did and there were some who were turned down based on the fact that they had families. The work is not kind to families. I was on the road constantly and sometimes worked 10 or 12 or 14 days straight. I loved the actual work and the amazing people I was able to meet. I saw people change their minds and hearts. I saw light bulbs turn on as they truly grasped what I was teaching and even saw flames ignite as some discovered their life's work.

I began to doubt that my desire for a family would ever come true so I was determined to make domestic violence my life's work too. It's definitely a worthy cause. I'll always be involved with it. Always. But I'm so much happier and more content now that I've taken a step back and put my finger on my pain and stopped trying to cover up my disappointment with worthy causes.

I opened myself to the pain, disappointment and frustration. I need to feel it in order to move past it. Now I'm hopeful. Truly.

It's time for me to put my time, energy, and focus into myself. Now I'm looking for the kind of job that I will never have to take home with me; one that won't sap my energy and happiness. I need time in my life for things that are beautiful and creative and worthwhile. I need to spend time with friends and family. I need time for music making, gardening, writing, painting, and laughing, hiking, loving, knitting, cooking, creating, living. I cannot live another minute with daily grind. I don't care how poor I have to be to make this happen.

Isn't the moral of the story usually that love conquers all or the most important thing is family and/or human kindness/a connection with others/the wisdom gained from experience, etc, etc?

The moral of my story is that there are things in this life that I cannot live without. None of these things involve a 60+ hour work week or giving my energy and love to unworthy or even the most worthy causes without saving some for myself.

I don't expect the things I truly want and need to come easily; few things have for me. Now I can see what I need to do in order for these things to feel welcome in my life. I will create a beautiful and safe space for them and for myself.

Love will follow.

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