Sunday, February 1, 2015

Leaps of Faith

I'm getting better at taking the leap of faith.

Leap #1: that trip to Europe, mentioned in my last post.  My parents told me that I was crazy, didn't support me, suggested that I'd get murdered in my sleep in the youth hostel.  I went anyway, despite the fears they instilled in me, despite the fact that I'd never done anything like that, despite the fact that nobody in my family traveled (ironic, given my grandparents' emigration from Germany) and learned that I was indeed a world traveler, and that I did actually have access to the great works of art, castles, and sights that had previously only existed for me in books.  I spent my entire meagre savings, quit my job, and made my dreams happen by heading to Europe alone with a backpack and Eurail pass.  That trip changed who I am and my understanding of the big wide world and my place in it.  I came back, got a new job, and reentered my life an altered person, better than before.

Leap #2: I decided to believe that I could handle the never ending surgeries, the chemo, the radiation, and that if I kept going the treatment itself wouldn't kill me, decided that I could handle the pain, decided that my life was worth it.  It's nearly ten years later, and here I am!

Leap #3: I decided that if cancer didn't kill me, I could survive a divorce, even if I didn't have money or income or any understanding at all of how I could create a new life.  Leap #3 came from a gut feeling that my daughter's life would be better if I left an ugly marriage, and that I could give her more outside that marriage than within it.  Nearly four years after that decision, here I am, in a life a million times better than my married life; my daughter is thriving, and her life is better, too.

Three leaps so far, and they gave me the world, my life, and a renewed sense of the possible.  Along the way, there have been missteps, or detours, that's for sure.  My path is not a straight line, and there have been many steps backwards, and much confusion, but still, I took the leaps, and they have landed me here today.

I am getting ready for leap #4.

Leap #4 is about believing that I belong with the best in my professional field.  It's about believing in my ability to land the BIG job, and to have amazing success within that job.  It's about making a huge impact with my work. It's about using my career path to change the face of cancer forever.  It's about believing that I am not meant to do small things, and I am not meant to work with small people.

It's about believing that I can work with the best and the brightest, and that I need not huddle with the the masses, but that my professional life has meaning in this world.  It's about believing that I can be happy at work.  It's about believing in my ability to make a difference.

It's about believing that I will be accepted into the circles of these professionals, embraced as one of their own.

For all of this to happen, I have to believe that I belong, that they are not doing me favors by hiring me, and that with hard work, time, and grace, I can be among their best.

It's about believing that my current salary is not a reflection of my worth, and that I my talents, education, and experience are worth more.

It's about believing in my ability to give my daughter the gift of travel, and the gift of education (opening new opportunities for high school and college if I have more income).

It's about believing that I deserve to work in a functional work space, with brilliant, compassionate people.  It's about believing that my donors will respond well to me and to what I offer them.  It's about believing that I will be taken seriously when I ask for a million dollar gift to fight cancer.  (A million dollars, and I want them to give it away, and they will say yes.  How cool is that?)  It's about my ability to believe that I can play with the big kids and hold my own.

I'm going to give it my all, and I'm going to take the leap.  It's a huge leap.  Maybe, it's my biggest leap yet, and it's a game changer.  I feel the change happening inside myself at a cellular level: my belief in my abilities is changing, and my understanding of my place in the world is changing.

I think I'll get the job.  I really do.  (This, in itself, is a miracle.  Six months ago I would have told you that you were CRAZY if you suggested that this kind of job would be on the table in 2015.) But if I don't?  I'll get another job like it.  I am determined, and I have faith that this is the path I am meant to be on, so I won't give up.  I'm ready to live BIG and the world is ready for me to live BIG, too.


I have a really, really hard time believing that all things happen for a reason.  How does that help the alcoholic sleeping on a park bench?  And what about AIDS babies?  And victims of domestic abuse?  What on earth can be good about those things?  People waste their talents all the time even when they have access to a better path, and then of course there are children living in a garbage dump in Mumbai.  (I could not finish "Behind the Beautiful Forevers" by Katherine Boo.  It hurt too much to know that it was real.)

I do not understand pain and suffering on a global level.  It is beyond my ability to comprehend.

But I am learning that the pain and suffering in my own one small life has had meaning.

Every obstacle that has been placed in front of me has taught me something about myself and given me access to entirely new worlds.  I know that sometimes in the heat of it (say, the heat of a third degree radiation burn) it was hard to locate the power that is being unlocked (as I whimpered through round the clock wound care on a three hour cycle to fight a threatened staph infection), but I am learning that the power will come.

I am starting to understand something about grace and its place in my life.  Somehow, good things are coming to me, if I will get out of my own way.  I may fall down several more times.....I do not forget that less than a year ago I was unemployed and panicking, and that I was losing hope every minute, and a year isn't a very long time to have passed since then.....but I have to have faith in my ability to turn these twists and turns into something good, too.

If I didn't have cancer, I wouldn't have learned that I had the strength to get divorced, and I wouldn't have understood the urgency of doing something more with my life.

If I didn't get divorced, I wouldn't have been "forced" back to work.

If I didn't work at a job that paid reasonably well and didn't stress me out but bored me out of my mind, I wouldn't have understood how much I needed to connect to my work at a deeper level.

If I didn't mention my job dissatisfaction to my boss, I could have stayed there forever.  But when I told her - my friend! - that I could not imagine being in the jewelry business for the rest of my life, she forced my hand, and I was fledged from the nest and learned that I could fly doing meaningful (to me) nonprofit work.

If my current employer wasn't so insanely dysfunctional, I would have stayed there for several years, maybe more, at a below-industry-standard wage, working with people who are not at the top of their games, thinking small.  But because my boss treats me poorly and the organization isn't well run, I have to move on.

And because I have to move on, I'm going to grab ahold of the job that touches my soul, and I'm going to get a huge raise in the process.  I'm going to work in an attractive office with interesting people, doing much more interesting work, with a much bigger impact on the world.


What leap do you need to take?

What pain and suffering has lead you to a better place?

How can your current suffering take you to the place you want to go?


Ready, set....JUMP!

No comments:

Post a Comment