The underlying theme of life over the last two and a half years has been change, change and more change. All roads led to change, no matter which path I chose. Whisked along at a rapid pace, whirling winds around and around and then quiet, like the leaves you see in the fall, spinning and spinning and then later just quiet beauty. These winds carried me to the here and now, setting me down like Dorothy’s house in the Wizard of Oz, placing me ever so gently in a place completely unexpected, a new land. I suppose none of us really see change coming, unless of course we’re buying a new home or having a baby. These are anticipated types of change on the life path, something we can see coming at least most of the time.
Almost two years ago, I was presented with an opportunity to move out of my long time role as a community college advising manager. A recruiter called with an offer from a small private college to serve as Dean of Academics where there would be opportunity for me to work directly with instructors and students. This appealed to me as I wanted to get back to impacting students lives in a personal and positive way instead of just program planning and managing staff. I interviewed with several of their administrators and researched the role before accepting the position.
Just three months after taking the job, the college added monthly travel across the U.S. to my role as an administrator. I would be home 50% of the time. Being a family oriented single mom, my response was, “If this had been in the job description, I would not have accepted the position. I still have young people at home I’m responsible for.”
I was told, “…just do the travel.” After a family meeting, I resigned. We decided it would be better for me to take a position somewhere, even if it meant making less money, in order to keep us a cohesive family unit. Tough, tough, tough decision. It meant job searching in a market where jobs are scarce. I found myself faced with my greatest fear, not being able to support the family financially.
In the midst of the job search, I dreamt of building a mosaic made up of little pieces of creativity, all of the skills, all of the talents I’ve acquired throughout my employment history. That morning I sketched a picture illustrating abilities, talents, people I knew and jobs I loved doing. The dream had provided me with a tool to see beyond what I’d pigeonholed myself into. The sketch became a palette of employment and there before me I saw something evolve and take shape. Looking for a job became my full-time career. I networked and sent out three to four resumes a day. I was a job hunting ninja. Three months, 120 job applications later, I interviewed with eight different organizations, chose and accepted a position.
The position in education did not allow me space to grow, and by space I mean inwardly. Spiritually, I was moving at a snail’s pace. Everyday office operation didn’t allow downtime for contemplation, even walking to the other side of campus during lunch in search of a quiet place, I found myself caught up in student or staff issues. Occasionally I would think about moving out of the field into something else. In looking back, I see I’d become complacent. It was easier and safer to stay where I was.
Spirit saw it differently. The only way any kind of growth would occur was with change. The offer for Director of Education came from the only college I might have considered, with work I loved and a salary that couldn’t be beat. The timing was perfect. I left my long-term employer for this new adventure. Three months later, they dropped the travel bomb with no alternative options. The decision to resign was frightening and the only right decision given my commitment to family. The job search, well for those of you who are out there looking, all I can say is God bless. It’s a tough market.
So in the midst of whirlwind job hunting, my “house” landed quietly in an executive assistant position, a place I never dreamed I’d be. I now mange the U.S. office of a small spiritually centered organization. Instead of forty people reporting to me, I have just a handful. The grounds are surrounded by forest and natural prairie with walking paths and meditation areas. It is a peace-filled and sacred place. I’m in a job I would not have imagined, surrounded by spiritually centered people and I am exactly where I was led to be. All events leading to this change were events I could not, would not have foreseen and would not have consciously chosen. I faced my greatest fears, discovered strength I didn’t know I had, and now find myself on a life path so much more appropriate to who I am, more than this.
“When my path seems too liquid and unsure, when I seem to be carried upon moving streams, having lost my familiar, solid and trusting pavements, when You are too much a mystery to me, Lord, when I am too much of a mystery to myself, when the familiar becomes unfamiliar, when my mind seems banished from itself, when my eyes see strange things, when there is distance in those closest to me, when blankness eclipses the face of friendship and smiles recede, taking the last sweet wrinkle of mirth from our moments together, when I am lost and impossibly alone, when flight fills me and I am wingless, when my soul is bullied with suspense, when normal seems indifferent, when I am naked and fretful, when I fear the light of day and long for shadows to hide me, to comfort me in a place where I am faceless and no one asks my name, when prayers like this say too much and leave no finishing mark, no punctuated end, for language itself is interrupted…” ~ David Teems, 2004
There are only two words, trust change.